Even if she occasionally laughs creepily at you for no reason, Alexa is still a pretty helpful digital assistant. We rely on her for things as simple as alarm clocks, weather, and other news information, but also for smart home control and myriad other things. If you’re one that asks Alexa a lot of questions, you’re used to invoking her the old fashioned way with an “Alexa” callout first and foremost. Now, however, a setting in your app turns on Follow-Up Mode that makes multiple questions just a little bit easier.
The system is remarkably simple, and it seems odd that it’s only now been implemented. With Follow-Up Mode turned on, your Echo device will continue to listen for five seconds after responding to your original query. The blue ring will stay lit to show that she is listening, and she’ll do her best to interpret any follow up queries intended for her without requiring another wake word. To enable, simply go into the app settings, select your Echo device, and turn on Follow-Up Mode.
This isn’t enabling compound requests, so you won’t be able to ask Alexa to set your nightly alarm and lock your front door all in one request, but you’ll at least be able to cut down slightly on the time and number of words necessary for those multiple actions.
If you don’t want Alexa to keep listening, Amazon says you can stop each occurrence of Follow-Up Mode with a simple “thank you” or “stop” to get her to stop listening. The blue light will go out as usual to show that Alexa is no longer listening. Amazon also says that Alexa will only respond to follow-up requests that she’s reasonably sure are actually requests for Alexa, so there may be some hits and misses in the early days as Amazon’s computers figure out how best to hear what you’re asking without the original wake word in the beginning each time.