The voice assistant that lives inside all of these products got some significant upgrades at Wednesday’s event. For example, it’s more sensitive to emotion—if you’re yelling at it, Alexa will understand and acknowledge your frustration with its imperfect responses. You’ll be able to add celebrity voices for $1 each, with actor Samuel L. Jackson as the first. There are also new multilingual modes that will let you switch between various Alexa languages (English, Spanish, French, Indian English, and Hindi) depending on where on the globe you live.
A new feature lets parents white-list contacts that their children are allowed to chat with through Alexa. Kids can even chat with other Echo-owning kids; both parents have to set it up and authenticate it for them individually, but then the kids can chat all they want.
There are some new privacy features coming to Alexa as well. These will roll out to all Alexa devices, old and new, starting today. Alexa’s Privacy Hub, launched earlier this year, now has a feature that auto-deletes your Alexa voice recordings on a rolling basis. You can set it to auto-delete everything you’ve said after three or 18 months. Also available today is a new way to learn what Alexa is logging. You can ask your Echo device: “Alexa, tell me what you heard.” The device will then read your most recent voice request back to you.
Alexa Hunches is getting new additions. Before, the Echo could send you reminders based on your regular habits. It might remind you to lock the door, or turn off certain lights. Now, Alexa can predict when you’re running out of common household items. When the Hunch suspects you might be low on batteries or printer ink, it will send you a gentle nudge to stock up.
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