Alexa Device with Blue Response Ring

We've all experienced Alexa waking up even when we don't say "Alexa"

You can now say "Alexa, tell me what you heard" to find out why

Alexa will respond by telling you what she thought you said. Sometimes, she'll even explain her "thought process" -- that she mistakenly thought she heard her name but realized it was a false alarm. For me, understanding why Alexa sometimes behaves in unexpected ways provides an even greater degree of comfort with having Alexa in my home.

Pro Tip #1a: Remember, you can always say "Alexa, delete what I just said" if you see Alexa's blue ring come on (indicating she is recording what you are saying) and hear her chime in when you didn't intend her to.

Pro Tip #1b: Wondering why Alexa needs to record you at all? In order to process what you have asked for when you say “Alexa, what’s the weather?” and give you a helpful response, Alexa needs to send what you said to the Amazon cloud. That’s where the actual analysis — taking your voice recording’s sound waves and figuring out a response — happens.

Pro Tip #2: You'll soon be able to ask "Alexa, why did you do that?" which will provide even more insight into why Alexa does what she does.

Do This Now: VoiceBrew Alexa privacy check

Here are 3 essential to-do's to make sure your Alexa privacy is set to your liking:

  1. Understand how to delete recordings of your Alexa voice commands. You can delete them with Alexa voice commands or even auto-delete them after a set amount of time. Tap/click here to see how.
  2. Make sure only essential third party skills can access your data. Don't use that weather skill anymore? Remove its access to your address. Tap/click here to see how.
  3. Make a decision on whether you are okay with having your data used to improve Alexa. You can choose to opt out, which will also mean you opt out of having any human review your Alexa recordings. Tap/click here to see how. According to Amazon, new features may not work as well for you, but it's great that you have this option.

You'll soon be able to pay your utility bill with Alexa

Alexa users in the US will soon be able to pay utility bills with simple Alexa commands like "Alexa, pay my electricity bill." You'll be able to get Alexa notifications when bills are due and ask questions about the bill amount and how the current bill compares to the previous period. The feature will be accessible for customers of over 700 utilities (encompassing 95% of US zip codes!) that are members of the Paymentus Instant Payment Network. Tap/click here to read more.
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Katherine Prescott
Founder, VoiceBrew
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