We've very much entered the era of the digital voice assistant. Whereas people growing up in the 60s and 70s may have been concerned about Big Brother peering over the shoulder, we now ask our wiretaps for pancake recipes. But maybe you're finding that Alexa is starting to talk a little too much. It looks like you're in luck, because Amazon is testing a Brief Mode for Alexa that cuts back on her verbal responses.

Whether you use Alexa on an Amazon Echo, a Sonos One, or any number of other Alexa-enabled devices, she'll usually come back by saying "okay" when you ask her to perform some sort of smart home command.

If you tell her to turn off your living room lights, she'll reply with an "okay" to acknowledge your request. If you tell her to change the hue on your RGB smart bulb, she'll say "okay" too. That's usually fine, but what if you want a little more brevity in your life?

A prime example of this happened to me just last night. I wanted to turn a light in the living room back on (it turned off from my pre-set schedule), but the kid was sleeping and I didn't want to wake her with Alexa's loud voice (I set the volume louder during the day and forgot to turn it back down). With the new Brief Mode enabled, Alexa would simply come back with a confirmation chime instead of an "okay."

From what we can see, Brief Mode is showing up intermittently for some users. It can be taken away and it can be put back. And also from what we can tell, it only affects smart home commands at the moment, but it could be extended to other situations too. What if you want a shorter weather forecast or current exchange rate?


To see if you've got Brief Mode yet, fire up that Alexa app on your smartphone or tablet, scroll down to the bottom of the settings area under "Alexa Voice Responses" and hit the toggle to enable.

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