Amazon Alexa can now be found in millions of homes around the world, and while it may always be listening, it’s not always recording. In fact, Amazon has stated that its voice assistant doesn’t record a user’s conversation until it hears the correct wake word. Well, that could change if the company decides to adopt its latest patent.
According to this patent, discovered by BuzzFeed News, Amazon would allow Alexa to record all conversations in the hope that a user will eventually say the wake word. The way it would work is that rather than users having to begin their sentence with Alexa, they would be able to put it at the end of the sentence, and Amazon’s technology would be smart enough to go back into the recording and work out where the question began.
Now, there are plenty of people concerned with the always-listening functionality of Amazon’s smart speakers, so imagine how they’d feel about the device always recording. Thankfully, the technology will have some granular controls for users who are concerned about that. According to the patent, Amazon will offer users the ability to choose how long Amazon is recording and storing audio for, with users given the choice between 10 and 30 seconds at a time. That means if a user has a question that is over 30 seconds long, Alexa would have missed the start of the question.
Amazon says that it has no plans to roll-out such a feature at this moment in time. In fact, the company stated that despite filing the patent for the technology, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has plans to ever use it. The company didn’t rule out the possibility of rolling it out in the distant future, however, and only commented on ‘near-term’ plans.