Smart speaker devices like the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple’s HomePod are always listening for their wake word. This prevents them from being used all the time and it also affords customers some semblance of privacy, where it is presumed that these devices are not listening to them until their wake words are spoken.


However, it can feel a bit unnatural to keep repeating these wake words, which is why Amazon could be toying with the idea of creating an Alexa device in the future that will not require a wake word. This is according to a recently discovered patent which shows that Amazon is (or was) exploring such an idea.

The idea behind it is to help create a more natural conversation. For example, the user might ask for the weather, “What’s the weather like today, Alexa?” Upon hearing its name, Alexa will then attempt to backtrack and see if a possible command might have been given before its trigger word was spoken.

Naturally, there are privacy concerns associated with such a feature, but according to an Amazon spokesperson, they told Engadget, “The technology in this patent is not in use, and referring to the potential use of patents is highly speculative. Like many companies, we file a number of forward-looking patent applications that explore new scientific ideas that may not make it into customer-facing products. Patents take multiple years to receive and do not necessarily reflect current or near-future state of products and services.”

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