Back toward the end of September, Amazon held an event where it announced a boat load of new products. Some of these seem more useful than others – I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the Echo Wall Clock – but new products weren’t the only topic of the day. Amazon also announced a handful of new features for Alexa, and one of the most interesting was undoubtedly Whisper Mode, which is rolling out today.
Whisper Mode does pretty much what it says on the tin. With it, Alexa can discern the volume of your voice and, when you whisper a command to her, whisper back. If you’re asking it to play music, it’ll play the tune you requested at a low volume as well, so Whisper Mode’s capabilities extend beyond only your interactions with Alexa.
So, if you’ve got a sleeping partner next to you and you need to ask Alexa a question, you can whisper your queries and not have to worry about Alexa waking them up. This seems like it’ll be particularly useful in households with a newborn baby, as you no longer have to choose between using the IoT capabilities of your smart home and waking a sleeping child.
TechCrunch reports that Whisper Mode is going live today, but this isn’t a worldwide roll out. Instead, Whisper Mode is only available in the United States and it’s only compatible with US English for now. There’s no word on when it’ll launch in other regions, but hopefully it’s something Amazon is working on.
Before you can use Whisper Mode, you’ll need to enable it either through the Alexa App or through voice commands. To enable it in the app, open your settings menu, tap “Alexa Account,” then head into “Alexa Voice Responses” and toggle “Whispered Responses.” TechCrunch also notes that you can turn on Whisper Mode by saying – what else? – “Alexa, turn on Whisper Mode.” I’m not seeing the option to turn on Whisper Mode in my own Alexa app just yet, so it seems to be rolling out in phases. If you don’t see the option either, just keep checking back, as it should be live soon.