Is Amazon's Alexa worth buying

Frequently asked questions about Alexa and Alexa devices

Frequently asked questions about Alexa

1. How do I use Alexa?

Alexa allows you to use your voice to ask questions and give commands. For example, you can ask Alexa a question, e.g. B. "How is the weather in Berlin today?", Or you give her an order, e. B. "Add cat food to my grocery list" or "Play jazz". Your question or request and related information such as music playlists, calendar entries, smart home devices and items on your shopping list are processed in the cloud. Calling up Alexa differs depending on the type of device used. For hands-free devices like Amazon Echo, just say the activation word (Alexa, Echo, Amazon or Computer). On other devices, like some Fire tablets, you can bring up Alexa with a button.

2. Does Alexa record all of my conversations?

No. Echo devices are set up to only recognize the selected activation word (Alexa, Echo, Amazon or Computer). The device recognizes the activation word by identifying acoustic patterns that make up the activation word. Without the device recognizing the activation word (or activating Alexa with a button), voice recordings will not be saved or sent to the cloud.

3. What happens when I talk to Alexa?

When you speak to Alexa, a voice recording of the question you asked will be sent to Amazon's cloud, where your request and other information will be processed for an answer. For example, when you say “Alexa, play the top hits from Amazon Music,” we will use the recording of your command and the information from Amazon Music to play the top hits.

4. How does Alexa minimize the amount of data that is sent to the cloud?

Alexa and Echo devices are designed to take in as little audio as possible and minimize the amount of background noise that is sent to the cloud. By default, Alexa-enabled devices only stream audio to the cloud when the wake-up word is recognized (or Alexa is activated by pressing a button). When an Alexa-enabled device detects the wake-up word and starts streaming audio to the cloud, Alexa performs a "cloud verification" of the wake-up word. Alexa uses the more powerful processing functions of the cloud to check the acoustic signal again and to confirm the recognition of the activation word. If the cloud verification does not also recognize the activation word, Alexa stops processing the audio data and ends the audio stream to the cloud. When Alexa confirms that the activation word has been spoken, Alexa then continuously tries to determine when your request has ended and then immediately stops the audio stream.

5. What if Alexa is accidentally activated?

In some cases your Alexa-enabled device can interpret another word or another acoustic signal as an activation word (e.g. the name "Alex" or when someone says "Alexa" on the radio or television). When that happens, Alexa is inadvertently activated. We have a team of world-class scientists and engineers dedicated to continuously improving our activation word detection technology and preventing such accidental activations. For example, the cloud verification mechanism is used for this purpose, which is described in the FAQ "How does Alexa minimize the amount of data that is sent to the cloud?" is described.

Every time your Echo device detects the wake-up word, a visual or audible indicator signals that the device is recording audio data in order to send it to the cloud. You can review and delete the voice recordings associated with your account (including any audio recordings resulting from inadvertent activation) in your voice recordings history. This is available in the Alexa app under Settings> Alexa data protection> Check voice recording history or at https://www.amazon.de/alexadatenschutzlösungen.

6. Can I check and delete my voice recordings?

Yes. You can check voice recordings connected to your account and delete the voice recordings individually, by date, by Alexa-enabled devices or all at once if you select "Alexa data protection" in the settings of the Alexa app or https://www.amazon.de/ Call up alexa data protection settings. On each of the two pages, you can set that your voice recordings that are older than 3 or 18 months are automatically deleted or that the voice recordings are not saved. If you choose not to save the voice recordings, the voice recordings will be automatically deleted after we have processed your request, as will all voice recordings that are currently in your voice recordings history. You can also delete all voice recordings associated with your account for each of your Alexa-enabled devices and app under My Content and Devices.

In addition, you can activate the function for deleting your voice recordings by voice command. Once you have the feature turned on, you can delete the voice recording of your last question by saying, "Alexa, delete what I just said". You can also delete an entire day's voice recordings associated with your account by saying, "Alexa, delete everything I said today." Or, you can delete all of the voice recordings associated with your account by saying, “Alexa, delete everything I've ever said”. Voice deletion is activated automatically when a member of your household has created a voice profile and their voice is recognized when the household member asks to delete recordings by voice. If you or your household members have not created an Alexa voice profile, you can delete it by voice command under Settings > Alexa data protection > Manage your Alexa data Activate it in the Alexa app or at https://www.amazon.de/alexadatenschutzlösungen. If this feature is enabled through your privacy settings, anyone with access to your Alexa-enabled devices can ask Alexa to delete the voice recordings associated with your account.

Deleting voice recordings may affect your Alexa experience. If you choose not to save voice recordings, voice profiles will not work and existing voice profiles associated with your account will be deleted. If you have changed your default country while using an Alexa-enabled product, you will need to delete all voice recordings associated with your account for each country individually in order to delete all voice recordings associated with your account. To find out how you can transfer your Amazon account to other countries, click here.

7. What happens if I delete my voice recordings?

If you delete voice recordings from the voice recordings history that are linked to your account, we will delete the voice recordings you have selected and the text transcripts of these recordings from the Amazon cloud. If you choose not to save voice recordings, the text transcripts of your requests will be kept for 30 days from this point on and then automatically deleted. We keep these text transcripts so that you can read the inquiries you send to Alexa in your voice recording history and to improve your Alexa experience and our services. You can delete the text transcripts at any time in the Alexa app under Settings> Alexa data protection> Voice recording history.

We may retain other records of your Alexa interactions, including records of actions Alexa took in response to your request. This enables us, for example, to continue to provide your reminders, timers and alarms, to process your orders and to display your shopping and to-do lists as well as messages that have been sent via communication with Alexa. If your request has been processed by an Alexa Skill, deleting your voice recordings will not delete any information stored by the developer of that skill (skill developers will not receive voice recordings). For more information on Alexa Skills, see the FAQ "How do Alexa Skills work?". For more information on how to remove messages sent via communication with Alexa, see "How do I remove messages from my conversation list?" For more information on how to delete voice recordings that were made for creating a voice profile, see “How do voice profiles work?”.

8. What is Alexa's voice recording history?

Voice Recording History is a feature that allows you to play back your voice recordings that have been sent to the cloud, as well as text transcription of what Alexa thought you said and check the response from Alexa. This feature can help you better understand how Alexa works and what Alexa is picking up and what is not. You can also use the feature to remember answers Alexa has given you, such as the name of a restaurant recommended by Alexa. If Alexa makes a mistake, you can use this feature to see what could have gone wrong, such as whether Alexa misunderstood a particular word or phrase. You can access Alexa's voice recording history by Settings> Alexa privacy> Check voice recordings history Go to the Alexa app or https://www.amazon.de/alexadatenschutzlösungen. You can also help us improve our voice services by giving us feedback in your voice recording history.

9. How are your voice recordings used?

Alexa uses your voice recordings and other information, including from third party services, to answer your questions, carry out your commands, and improve your user experience and our services. We connect your commands to your Amazon account to enable you to review your voice recordings, access other Amazon services (e.g. you can ask Alexa to read your Kindle eBook or play audiobooks from Audible) and provide your user experience with an increasingly personalized experience can. For example, Alexa helps save the songs you have listened to when you say "Alexa, play music". Alexa can intermittently make recommendations based on your commands. For example, Alexa can recommend additional Alexa skills based on the Alexa skills you have used.

10. How do my voice recordings and text transcripts improve Alexa?

Alexa is a service that is continuously improving and designed to get smarter every day. The more Alexa is trained with realistic requests from different customers, the better Alexa adapts to different language habits, dialects, accents and vocabulary as well as the background noise of the location. This training is based in part on controlled machine learning, an industry-typical process in which people check a very small proportion of inquiries in order to help Alexa understand the correct interpretation of the inquiries and be able to provide the appropriate answer in the future. An employee who checks inquiries from customers about the weather in Steinfurt can find out, for example, that Alexa mistakenly mistook this request for an inquiry about the weather in Schweinfurt. Our controlled learning process includes various security precautions to protect the privacy of customers. You can use your voice recordings to improve our services and develop new functions below "Settings> Alexa account> Alexa data protection> Manage your Alexa data" manage in the Alexa app.

11. How do Alexa skills work?

Skills are voice-controlled functions from Alexa. You can see the available skills in your Alexa app and activate or deactivate certain skills. You can use the activated skills by saying certain sentences (so-called call names) after Alexa has been activated. When you use a skill, we may share the related information with the developer of that skill, e.g. B. Your answers when playing a trivia skill, your zip code when asking about the weather, or the content of your inquiries (but not the voice recordings). If you make a request to Alexa without using the calling name of a particular skill, we can send the content of your request to multiple skills and activate and execute the skill that we believe is best suited to your request answer. The skill area of ​​your Alexa app can contain further information about a skill, such as the applicable data protection guidelines and conditions provided by the developer of that skill. By default, we do not pass your personal data on to the developers of skills. However, you can give permission to the developer of a skill to access additional information associated with your account (e.g. you can give permission to the developer of a restaurant skill to access your name and email address in order to make a reservation). You can change the skills that you have given access to certain additional information in Settings> Alexa Privacy> Manage Skill Permissions or view and manage at https://www.amazon.de/alexadatenschutz Settings.

12. How does voice-controlled shopping via Alexa work?

You can ask Alexa to (re) order qualifying products that are available for purchase on the Amazon website. Alexa can also be used to subscribe to available services, or to purchase products and services using Alexa Skills. Your standard payment and shipping settings are used for this. In your Alexa app or at alexa.amazon.de you can set up a spoken confirmation code, deactivate the voice shopping function and view product and order information for these orders. Just like orders placed through the Amazon website, orders placed through Alexa are subject to the Amazon.de General Terms and Conditions and in the case of a subscription to a service, the provisions applicable to the respective service.

Some Alexa skills allow you to purchase non-digital products or services from the developer of the skill via Amazon Pay (e.g. to order food using a restaurant skill) and to use your standard payment and shipping settings. You can see an overview of your Amazon Pay orders and additional information about these orders on the Amazon Pay website.

Some Alexa Skills allow you to order products or services from the developer of the skill using a payment method that you provide directly to the developer. Your voice shopping preferences may not apply to these orders.

13. Can I deactivate the voice shopping function?

Yes, Alexa has settings for voice-activated shopping. Open the settings in your Alexa app and go to "Voice purchase" to deactivate voice purchases via Amazon. You can also set Alexa to ask you for a spoken confirmation code when you want to place an order on Amazon.

14. How is the return and revocation of products and content that I order via Alexa regulated?

For information on returning products purchased on Amazon through Alexa, see About our return policy. Non-digital products purchased through Alexa can be returned free of charge. To return a product purchased through Alexa, process your returns as usual in the return center. We will automatically reimburse you for all shipping charges incurred for the return. You should be able to view the shipping reimbursement within 7 days of receiving your return product.

The Amazon return policy does not apply to non-digital products or services that you have obtained from third parties via Alexa Skills. Instead, the return conditions of the respective skill developer apply here.However, the Amazon A-to-z Guarantee does cover the purchase of certain physical products that are purchased through third-party Alexa Skills using Amazon Pay.

Purchases of digital products cannot be canceled once their delivery has started, e.g. by downloading them or making them available to you in the cloud. If you have accidentally purchased digital content or subscriptions to third-party services through Alexa, you are entitled to a return and a refund if we receive a request from you within seven days of the purchase. Please contact our customer service for a refund. You can deactivate the automatic renewal for subscriptions to third-party services by visiting the detail page of the corresponding Alexa Skill in your Alexa app and adjusting the settings of your subscriptions there. Please note that fees already paid will not be reimbursed in this case. For information on cancellation and refund options for subscriptions to Amazon services, please read the terms of use applicable to the respective subscription.

15. What are children's skills and how do I activate them?

Skills for children are skills that were developed for children by the developer. Skills for children are turned off by default. In order to be able to use these skills, you can allow the general use of skills for children in the settings menu of your Alexa app. You can generally switch off the skills for children at any time by changing this setting. Skills for children cannot be used from your account if they are turned off. You can find more information about the skill, including the terms of use provided by the developer, on the detail page for each child's skill. Learn more.

16. How do voice profiles work?

You can create a voice profile so Alexa can call you by name and do more to personalize your user experience. When you create a voice profile, Alexa uses recordings of your voice to create an acoustic model of the characteristics of your voice. Alexa saves these voice profiles in the cloud. If a user stops using Alexa and their voice is not recognized for three years, we will automatically delete the acoustic model for that user's voice. If Alexa recognizes your voice profile while using an Alexa Skill that is offered by a third party, this skill may be given a numeric identifier that allows it to distinguish you from other users in your household and thus improve your user experience. You can issue this personalization of Alexa Skills based on voice profiles, which are offered by third parties, or you can delete the voice profiles you have created in the Alexa app. When you delete a voice profile, the voice recordings that were made for creating a voice profile are also deleted.

17. How does Amazon use permissions on mobile devices that I grant in the Alexa app? The Alexa app asks for authorizations on your mobile device in order to be able to access certain functionalities or information (e.g. the microphone, the camera or the location). Below is a list of specific permissions that the Alexa app can request, along with a description of some of the ways Amazon currently uses these permissions. You can manage the permissions that you grant to the Alexa app in the settings of your mobile device.

Location. We use the location of your mobile device to deliver results (e.g. weather, traffic, restaurant recommendations) based on where you are currently using the app and to provide certain features. To help you set up certain Alexa-enabled devices, we also need authorization on some mobile devices to detect and connect to nearby Bluetooth devices and WiFi networks.

Microphone. We use the microphone of your mobile device to hear your requests and to enable communication with Alexa. On some mobile devices, we also need authorization to process audio from your Alexa-enabled Bluetooth devices.

Contacts. We use your mobile device's contacts to help you make calls, send messages, and communicate with your friends and family. To learn more about how we use your contacts to communicate with Alexa, please read the FAQs on Communication with Alexa below.

Storage. In order to provide certain Alexa features, we may need to save data locally on the device. For example, we store certain data locally in order to improve the performance of the app.

Camera. We use your mobile device's camera to enable video calls and to simplify device setup (e.g. scanning a device barcode to initiate setup). Announcements. We use notifications to send you notifications, for example when you receive new messages or calls.

Always keep the app running in the background. In order to be able to use certain Alexa-enabled devices (e.g. Echo Auto) and functions, the Alexa app on certain mobile devices needs the authorization to always run in the background.

Frequently asked questions about Alexa Smart Home

1. How does Alexa work with smart home devices?

Alexa enables you to control different smart home devices and check their status, such as lights, switches, plugs, thermostats, cameras, locks, televisions, printers, kitchen appliances and vacuum cleaner robots. You can connect compatible smart home devices to Alexa using Alexa smart home skills. You can also connect certain smart home devices directly to compatible Echo devices. For example, smart home devices using Zigbee can connect directly to Echo devices with a built-in smart home hub such as the Echo Show 10. And certain other smart home devices can connect to Echo devices via Bluetooth or WiFi. Finally, you can connect some smart home devices to Alexa by setting up those devices through the Alexa app.

In some cases, your smart home devices can automatically connect to Alexa, even through simple WiFi setup. In other cases, you may need to say “Alexa, find my devices” or use the Alexa app to connect a smart home device. We can carry out automatic firmware updates for certain devices that are connected to Alexa on behalf of the manufacturer.

2. What information does Alexa receive from my smart home devices?

When smart home devices are connected to Alexa, we may receive information about these devices, such as device type, name, functionality, status and usage history. We may receive this information even when you are not using Alexa to change the status of your device. For example, if you manually set your smart thermostat, Alexa may receive your new temperature setting. This allows Alexa to give the correct answer when you ask, "What temperature is the thermostat set to?" And it can show you the correct temperature in the Alexa app and on your Echo devices with screens. We may also keep information about the status and usage history of your devices to personalize your Alexa experience and improve Alexa for you and other smart home customers. For example, usage history information can help Alexa make better routine recommendations and respond to your query even if you've forgotten the name of your smart home device.

3. How can I delete the information Alexa receives from my third-party smart home devices?

You can delete the status and usage information associated with your Alexa account for third-party smart home devices all at once or have it deleted automatically if it is older than 3 or 18 months by Settings> Alexa privacy or go to https://www.amazon.de/alexadatenschutzlösungen. Clearing this history can affect your Alexa experience and certain smart home features. This does not delete other information about your Smart Home devices such as device type or name, and it does not delete any information about requests that you have made to Alexa regarding your Smart Home devices (e.g. the voice recordings of your requests to Alexa ). The smart home device manufacturer may store separate information about your smart home device.

4. What is Alexa’s Smart Home device history?

Smart Home Device History is a feature that allows you to review certain status and usage information about Smart Home devices connected to your Alexa account. With this feature, you can better understand how the connected smart home devices are used in your household. You can access the last 30 days of Alexa's smart home device history by Settings> Alexa Privacy> Smart Home Device History Visit in the Alexa app or https://www.amazon.de/alexadatenschutzlösungen. You can have your Alexa Smart Home device history including information older than 30 days and graphical insights into the use of certain devices sent by Settings> Alexa privacy> Manage your Alexa data Go to the Alexa app or https://www.amazon.de/alexadatenschutzlösungen.

Frequently asked questions about communicating with Alexa

1. What is communication with Alexa?

This free feature allows you to take advantage of the simplicity of the hands-free Echo experience as well as the advantages of the Echo microphones and the high-end sound of the Echo speakers for making calls and for composing and sending messages. It's now possible to use Alexa to quickly make phone calls, receive voice messages or send them to your family and friends - all using just your voice. For example, ask your supported Echo device. For example, simply “Alexa, call Grandma” or “Alexa, send a message to Julia”.

2. Which devices support communication with Alexa?

Sending and receiving messages and making calls via Alexa is possible between supported Echo devices and using the Alexa app on supported mobile devices and tablets. Communication with Alexa may also be available on third-party Alexa-enabled devices. Features may vary depending on the device

3. How does the Messages service work with Alexa?

You can use supported Echo devices and the Alexa app to send voice and text messages to other Alexa communication users (for example, if you're using an Echo device, just say, “Alexa, send a message to mom "Or, if you are using the Alexa app, tap on the message symbol on the contact card of" Mum "). The messages are then processed in the cloud and - depending on how the message is to be sent - converted into text or voice. When you receive a message on a supported Echo device, you will hear a tone and see a visual notification. You can check the received message on your supported Echo device by saying, “Alexa, play my messages”. As soon as you have received a message, you will also be notified on your mobile phone or tablet and can see or play the message in the Alexa app. The Messaging with Alexa service doesn't support sending messages to or receiving messages from phone numbers.

4. How does the Alexa call service work?

You can use supported Echo devices and the Alexa app to call other users by communicating with Alexa (for example, if you're using an Echo device, just say “Alexa, call mom” or if you're using the Alexa app tap the phone icon on the contact card of "Mum"). When you receive Alexa calls on your supported Echo device, Alexa will tell you that there is an incoming call for you and who the caller is. You will also see a rotating green light on your non-screen Echo device and an Incoming Call screen on your screen Echo device. You can then say “Alexa, take the call” to take the call. Each of the call participants can end the call with the command “Alexa, hang up”. As soon as a call comes in, you will also receive a notification about this on your mobile phone or tablet and you will see an "Incoming call" screen in the Alexa app, which allows you to take the call. The Alexa Calls service does not support calling phone numbers or receiving calls from phone numbers. For information about calling with Echo Connect, see our Frequently Asked Questions under "How does calling with Echo Connect work?"

5. Can I also call emergency numbers or write text messages while communicating with Alexa?

No, communicating with Alexa does not allow you to call emergency numbers such as 110 or 112 or send text messages to these numbers. You should therefore ensure that you can reach the relevant emergency numbers using a cell phone, landline phone or other service. For information on calling emergency numbers with Echo Connect, see our FAQs below under "Can I call emergency numbers with Echo Connect?"

6. How can I add and delete contacts when communicating with Alexa?

As soon as you have registered on your Alexa app to communicate with Alexa, you will be asked to import your contacts from your device. Your contacts will then appear as contacts in your Alexa app. As soon as you open the Alexa app, your contacts are automatically synchronized with the contacts on your mobile phone or tablet. You can deactivate the import of contacts in the Alexa app. If importing contacts is disabled, contacts previously imported from your device will be deleted.

You can also manually add contacts to your Alexa contact list in the Alexa app or at alexa.amazon.de. You can also delete contacts that you have added manually by selecting the appropriate contact card.

7. Do other people need permission to call me or text me?

It is first required that you register to communicate with Alexa. After your registration, other users can reach you via Alexa, provided they have your contact details.

8. Who will receive my calls or messages?

If you call or write a message to another person who uses communication with Alexa (e.g. "Jens Schmidt"), the call or message will be sent to all supported Echo devices connected to this contact, as well as sent to the Alexa app of this contact.

9. What is “Do Not Disturb” mode?

Do not disturb mode puts your Echo device on silent, which means that you cannot receive calls or messages through Alexa. Simply say "Alexa, please do not disturb" or activate the mode via Device icon> Echo & Alexa> [your device name]> Do not disturb. As soon as you want to receive calls and messages again, simply say “Alexa, please do not disturb off”.

10. How do I remove messages from my talk list?

In the iOS version of the Alexa app, slide the call to be deleted to the left and then click on "Remove". In the Android version of the Alexa app, press and hold the conversation you want to delete to select it, then tap the trash can icon in the top navigation bar. Please note that deleting a conversation from your conversation list does not mean that the conversation is also deleted from your contact's conversation list. It is not possible to delete sent or received messages from a contact's conversation list.

11. How do I log out of communication with Alexa?

To do this, please call customer service, who will help you unsubscribe from communication with Alexa.

12. What does "Drop In" mean?

The Drop In feature allows you to easily connect with your closest friends and family on supported Echo devices. To give Drop In permission for yourself (and your household) or one of your contacts (and their household), select the relevant contact card and switch Drop In on. You can also give yourself (and your household) drop-in permission by simply saying “Alexa, drop-in at home”.To turn off drop in for your household, you can simply say “Alexa, turn off drop in”. Alternatively, you can turn on Do Not Disturb on any or all of the Echo devices by saying, Alexa, do not disturb. You can also drop in for a specific device via Device icon> Echo & Alexa> [your device name]> Communication Deactivate in the Alexa app.

13. What does a contact hear and see who connects to me using the Drop In function?

If someone connects to your supported Echo device using the Drop In feature, you will hear a tone and see a visual message indicating that someone has connected to you. The contact who connected to you via Drop In will automatically hear audio signals through your device. You can end the drop-in connection by saying “Alexa, hang up”. On your no-screen Echo device, you will see a green call light indicating that it is on a drop-in connection.

If a contact uses the Alexa app or an Echo device with a screen to drop in to their Echo device with a screen, the contact will initially only see a frosted glass screen through your device's camera. This screen will automatically turn into a clear picture after a short time. You will see the contact's video (and a picture-in-picture ad of your own video) once a drop-in connection is made. You can cancel the Drop In connection by tapping the Exit button on the screen. You can also turn off the camera while the audio conversation continues. Simply say “Alexa, camera off” or tap the “camera off” button on the screen.

14. What is the “currently active” indicator?

If members of the household or contacts have been granted drop-in permission, they will see a “currently active” indicator on the Echo Show, Echo Spot or in the Alexa app, which informs them if someone is near your supported Echo device is. In order to be able to determine whether a device was recently active, information about interactions with Alexa as well as motion sensors on Echo Show are used.

15. How do I deactivate Drop In?

If you have given members of your household drop-in permission, you can revoke this by saying “Alexa, disable drop-in” or disable drop-in on your contact card. If you have given other contacts a drop-in permission, you can also revoke this via the corresponding contact cards. You can also drop in for a specific device via Device icon> Echo & Alexa> [your device name]> Communication Deactivate in the Alexa app.

16. What are "advanced features"?

Within the Alexa app you can activate and deactivate extended communication functions, e.g. group calls, under Settings> Communication> Extended functions. When these features are enabled, your voice and video calls will be decrypted, processed and re-encrypted in the cloud to enable these features. When you activate the feature, it will be activated on all devices linked to your Amazon account. Amazon does not save any voice or video calls. If this option is deactivated, neither you nor other participants can use the advanced functions in your calls.

17. Are Alexa communication services encrypted?

By default, voice and video calls or drop-ins between Alexa devices are end-to-end encrypted. You can activate additional communication functions, e.g. group calls, in which case your voice and video calls will be briefly decrypted, processed and then re-encrypted in the cloud. Amazon does not save any voice or video calls or any information about the content of such calls. If you use Alexa to make a call to the landline or cellular network, the part of the call that is made via the telephone network is unencrypted, as is the case with other communication services.

18. What are announcements?

The announcement function enables you to easily send announcements to other Alexa-enabled devices in your household, similar to a one-way intercom. For example, simply say “Alexa, make an announcement” or “Alexa, announce: dinner is ready” and “dinner is ready” will be announced in your voice from all supported devices in your household. You can block announcements on one or all of the supported devices by turning on “Do not disturb” mode - just say “Alexa, please do not disturb”. In contrast to Drop In, announcements are only possible in one direction. To reply to an announcement, you can make a new announcement or use the drop-in function, which works like an intercom.

19. Can I make calls or send messages with Alexa through my existing wireless service provider?

Yes, with certain Alexa-enabled products (like Echo Auto), Alexa connects to your phone and allows you to send and receive calls and messages through Alexa, using your existing tariff. When you ask Alexa to make a call or send a message, Alexa will use the Communicate with Alexa service whenever possible. However, if the recipient is not a user of communication with Alexa or you want to contact a specific phone number, Alexa can use your existing cellular service to make the call or send the message (features may vary depending on the device and operating system, and it may drop Fees from the mobile operator). Alexa may not be able to process your request in the event of network or connection problems. If you are unable to make the call through Alexa, you should dial the number directly from your phone.

20. Can I link communication with third parties to communication with Alexa?

Yes. You can link selected communications with third parties to communications with Alexa. Simply go to "Communication" in the settings of the Alexa app. Amazon can import and store your contacts from third party communications to the cloud to help you connect with friends and family. Some features may not be available with Alexa and you may be charged for using some features of third party communication services. You should review the applicable terms and conditions of third party communication services before connecting your account to Alexa.

Frequently asked questions about Alexa-enabled Echo devices

Alexa-enabled devices such as Amazon Echo and Echo Show as well as Echo Auto are hands-free Alexa-enabled devices. For information about Echo Connect, see our Echo Connect FAQ.

1. How do Echo devices recognize the wake word?

Echo devices are set up to only recognize the selected activation word (Alexa, Echo, Amazon or Computer). The device recognizes the activation word by identifying acoustic patterns that make up the activation word. When the activation word is recognized, the device starts recording the audio data in order to forward it to the cloud, including a fraction of a second before the activation word is uttered. Without the device recognizing the activation word (or activating Alexa with a button), voice recordings will not be saved or sent to the cloud.

2. How do I know that Echo devices are sending audio data to the cloud?

When Echo devices recognize the wake-up word or when the action button on some Echo devices is pressed to activate Alexa, a light signal appears on the device, indicating that the device is sending audio data to the cloud. For example, a ring of light on the Amazon Echo lights up blue and a blue bar appears on the Echo Show. If you use the activation word, the audio stream already records a fraction of a second before the activation word is uttered and ends as soon as your question or request has been processed. You can turn on alert mode so that Alexa can respond to a series of requests without repeating the wake-up word. Learn more. You can also set your Echo device in the Alexa app so that a short acoustic signal is played whenever audio data is sent to the cloud. With some Echo devices, such as Echo Input, the short acoustic signal is activated by default.

3. Can I turn off the microphone on Echo devices?

Yes, Echo devices are equipped with a microphone button. When the microphone button is pressed, the connection to the microphone is switched off and a red light indicates this accordingly. If the microphone is switched off, the device cannot record audio data and send it to the cloud, even if you say the selected wake-up word.

4. How do Echo devices turn on the screen as soon as I enter the room?

Echo devices with a screen turn the screen on when they detect the wake-up word or movement in the camera's field of view, or when you interact with the device's screen or buttons.

5. How do I know that Echo devices with a camera are sending pictures or videos to the cloud?

When Echo devices send pictures or videos to the cloud, a message appears on the screen. For example, when a video call is active, the device screen will show a picture-in-picture view of the video being sent to the cloud or a green “Conversation in Progress” bar at the bottom of the screen.

6. Can I display the camera on Echo devices with a camera?

Yes, you can turn off the camera on Echo devices with a camera by pressing the microphone / camera button (off) on the device. When the microphone / camera button (off) is pressed, the microphone and camera are switched off and a red light indicates this accordingly. Some Echo devices with a camera, such as the Echo Show 5, also have an integrated camera cover. If the camera is turned off by pressing the microphone / camera button (off) or if the camera cover is covering the camera, the device will not detect any movement in the camera's field of view and you will not be able to use functions that use the camera, such as video calls use.

7. How does the Echo Show 10 rotate automatically?

Echo Show 10 automatically rotates to face you when you say the wake-up word (e.g. Alexa) and to move with you during certain activities so that you can keep an eye on the device's screen and camera. For example, during video calls or while watching a video, you can move around the room and the device moves with you. The device analyzes microphone and camera inputs locally to determine your approximate position in relation to the device and to align the screen accordingly. No pictures or videos are sent to the cloud to enable the motion function.

You can manage the movement function of the device under Movement Function - Preferences in the device settings (e.g. switch off). You can also turn off motion by saying "Alexa, turn off motion" or by closing the camera cover.

Frequently asked questions about Echo Connect

Echo Connect is an additional device that converts any supported Echo device into a hands-free system for your landline connection.

1. What do I need to be able to use Echo Connect?

You need a landline connection (e.g. a landline number or a VoIP service), WLAN and a supported Echo device. Each Echo Connect supports only one phone line at a time and only one Echo Connect can be registered per Amazon account.

2. How do I make calls with Echo Connect?

Echo Connect extends your traditional telephone connection and is not a replacement for it. Connect Echo Connect to your telephone socket or your VoIP connection. You will also need to set up your supported Echo device. To complete the setup of your Echo Connect device, please register either on alexa.amazon.de or in the Alexa app for communication with Alexa.

Echo Connect also allows you to ask Alexa to call your contacts or other phone numbers supported by your landline provider via your landline connection (e.g. “Alexa, call mom” or “Alexa, call 03069990978”). Echo Connect shows your landline number in the caller ID, unless you have your landline provider turn off the caller ID.

You can also use your supported Echo devices to answer incoming calls on your landline connection (e.g. “Alexa, answer the phone”). Since Echo Connect uses your existing landline to make and receive calls, your landline provider may incur charges. Some features that you can use on your desk phone (such as call waiting or three-way conference) are not available on Echo Connect.

3. What is the difference between the Alexa Calls service and Echo Connect?

Echo Connect uses your landline to make and receive phone calls. The cell phone number with which you registered to communicate with Alexa will be displayed as caller ID on calls made with this service. You can turn off caller ID in your contact card in the Alexa app.

Alexa Calls uses your Echo device's internet connection to make calls to others registered to communicate with Alexa. For more information on communicating with Alexa, see the Frequently Asked Questions Communicating with Alexa above.

If you select Echo Connect, your landline is used for all calls and your landline number is shown in the caller ID.

4. I have Echo Connect, but I also use the Alexa calls service. How is my call made to an Alexa contact?

There are several ways that your call can be made when you want to call another user of Communication with Alexa.

If you just provide the name of the person you want to call (e.g. “Alexa, call mom”), Alexa will automatically place the call via calls with Alexa to mom's supported devices or the Alexa app.

If you enter the name of the person and their telephone device (e.g. “Alexa, call Mommy's cell phone”), Alexa will make the call with Echo Connect via your landline connection to Mum's cell phone. For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions “What is the difference between the Alexa Calls and Echo Connect?” Service above.

5. Can I call emergency numbers with Echo Connect?

Yes, emergency numbers like 110 or 112 can be called via Echo Connect like any other phone number. Just say: "Alexa, call 110". Please note: If you use Echo Connect to make calls to emergency numbers such as 110, the location information that may be passed on to the emergency services corresponds to the address registered for your landline connection connected to Echo Connect. However, this is not necessarily the location of your Echo device with which you make the call. Echo Connect will not work in the event of a power failure, network failure, or other connectivity issues. If you're having trouble making a call through Echo Connect, consider using your cellular, landline, or other phone service.

Frequently asked questions about Alexa on Fire tablets

Some Fire tablets support Alexa hands-free mode. The Fire HD 7 tablet and Fire HD 8 tablet (7th generation) also support Alexa hands-free mode when the screen is on and / or the tablet is connected to a power source, or show mode on Immersive Alexa experience with full screen ads complementing Alexa's voice responses. Learn more about how to use Alexa on your Fire tablet here.

1. How do I activate Alexa hands-free mode on my Fire tablet?

You can activate the Alexa hands-free mode in the settings of your tablet (Settings> Alexa) by making sure that both Alexa and the hands-free settings are switched on. To get to Show mode, slide your finger down on the screen to open the Quick Actions menu and activate Show mode from there, or just say, "Alexa, switch to Show mode" .

2. How does Alexa hands-free mode recognize the wake-up word on my Fire tablet?

Alexa on your Fire tablet uses device-internal keyword recognition to recognize the activation word, even if the device from which the activation word is determined is in standby mode. Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 tablets (7.Generation) cannot recognize the wake-up word when the screen is turned off unless the tablet is plugged into a power source. When the devices recognize the wake-up word, Alexa will stream audio to the cloud on your Fire tablet, including a split second of what was said before the wake-up word.

3. How do I know that Alexa on my Fire tablet is streaming my voice to the cloud?

As soon as Alexa recognizes the wake-up word on your Fire tablet, or as soon as you press and hold the Home button to activate Alexa, a blue line will appear at the bottom of your screen, indicating that Alexa is currently sending audio data to the cloud. When you use the wake-up word, the audio stream spans a fraction of a second of what you said before the wake-up word and ends as soon as your question has been processed. You will also hear a short tone that plays after the wake-up word is recognized, indicating that the device is streaming audio. At the end of your question, this tone will play again to indicate that the connection has been lost and the device is no longer streaming audio.

4. How does Alexa hands-free mode work on my Fire tablet if I have locked the tablet with a password?

If Alexa hands-free mode is activated and your tablet is locked with a password, you can still access certain Alexa functions by using the activation word. To access other Alexa features, you'll need to enter your password and unlock the device. If you no longer have to enter the password in order to be able to use Alexa functions, set a WiFi network as a trusted network in the device settings (Settings> Alexa> Trusted network) and connect your Fire tablet to it this. If your tablet is password protected, as a security measure, you may need to enter the password if you want to exit Show Mode, even if you are connected to a trusted network.

5. How does Alexa turn on the screen when my Fire tablet is in Show mode?

If your tablet is in show mode, it switches on the screen when it detects the activation word or movement in the field of view of the camera or when you interact with the screen or the buttons on the device.

6. How do I know that Alexa is currently streaming pictures or videos to the cloud on my Fire tablet?

When Alexa sends pictures or videos to the cloud, a message appears on the screen. For example, when a video call is active, a picture-in-picture view of the video sent to the cloud is displayed on the device screen.

7. How can I deactivate the Alexa hands-free mode?

You can deactivate the Alexa hands-free mode in different ways: Access the Quick Actions menu by swiping down the screen and tap the “Microphone / Camera on / off” icon (in Show mode) or on the Alexa hands-free symbol (outside of show mode). Or press and hold the volume up and volume down buttons on the device at the same time for three seconds. Finally, you can deactivate the show mode in the device settings (Settings> Alexa> Hands-free mode). When you're in Show Mode, you'll see a red bar and icon indicating that Alexa Hands-free is disabled on your Fire tablet. Outside the show mode, an icon appears in your status bar. Your tablet will not respond to the wake-up word - or detect movements in the camera's field of view in show mode - until you turn Alexa on again. If you deactivate Alexa Hands-free, you will still be able to access Alexa outside of Show mode by pressing and holding the Home button.

Frequently asked questions about Alexa on Fire TV devices

All Fire TV devices, i.e. Fire TV streaming media players and Fire TV Edition devices (collectively the "Fire TV devices") support Alexa.

1. How do I use Alexa on Fire TV devices?

You can use Alexa through the Fire TV app or a compatible Alexa voice remote by pressing and holding the microphone button. Release the microphone button when you have finished speaking.

Certain Fire TV devices support Alexa hands-free through a built-in speaker and microphones. You can also pair your Fire TV device with a compatible Alexa-enabled device and use Alexa on that device to control your Fire TV device.

They find out more how you can use compatible Alexa-enabled devices to control certain functions of your Fire TV device.

2. How does my Fire TV device recognize the wake-up word with Alexa Hands-free?

Your Fire TV device with Alexa hands-free uses word recognition in the device to recognize the activation word. Only when the device recognizes the wake-up word does it stream audio to the cloud, including a split second before the wake-up word is uttered.

3. How do I know that my Fire TV device is currently broadcasting audio files to in the cloud?

When you press the microphone button on a compatible Alexa voice remote or in the Fire TV app, a blue bar will appear on the TV screen indicating that the device is recording your request to stream to the cloud. When you use Alexa hands-free on supporting Fire TV devices and your device recognizes the wake-up word, a visual indicator will appear on the device to indicate that the device is recording your request to stream to the cloud. When your Fire TV Edition television with far-field voice control detects the wake-up word, it also activates a visual indicator on the television. When you use the wake-up word, the audio stream spans a fraction of a second of what you said before the wake-up word and ends once your command has been processed. You can turn on alert mode so that Alexa can respond to a series of requests without repeating the wake-up word. Learn more. You can also set your device in the Alexa app so that a short acoustic signal is played whenever audio data is sent to the cloud.

4. Can I turn off the microphones on my Fire TV device using Alexa hands-free?

Yes, Fire TV devices with Alexa hands-free have a microphone on / off button. When you press the button, power to the microphones is cut and a red light comes on. When the microphones are turned off, your device will not be able to record audio files and send them to the cloud even if you say the wake-up word you choose. If the device's microphones are turned off, the device will continue to respond to requests made using your voice remote control.

5. Can I use Alexa on my Fire TV device even though my TV is turned off?

Yes, Alexa responds to requests even when your TV is switched off. Certain Fire TV Edition TVs require you to enable the feature in the settings that allows Alexa to respond even when the TV screen is turned off. Depending on your request, Alexa may turn on your TV to fulfill your request.

For general questions about Alexa, Echo devices and privacy, see the data protection portal for Alexa.