Amazon announced all sorts of new stuff this week, including several Alexa products like the new Echo Show 15, and most of these connected devices can take advantage of the latest Alexa privacy updates. Most notably, Amazon will soon be ditching the internet for offline voice recognition on Alexa devices.
While an update coming next year will let users teach Alexa to identify new sounds, it’s the privacy-focused changes coming soon that you’ll love.
In a future update, Alexa devices in the United States will be able to process all voice commands on the device itself, even when it’s offline. This means your voice commands aren’t being sent back to the cloud for processing, which is far better in terms of privacy. Basically, this is offline voice recognition similar to what Google offers with the Google Assistant. However, Amazon said US customers could choose this option, so it likely won’t be enabled by default.
Furthermore, when you ask Alexa something, the system will process your command, then the audio clips will automatically get deleted, rather than being saved forever. Amazon received a lot of bad press a few years back over privacy and eventually added a toggle that let users opt-out of voice recordings, manually review them, or quickly delete all recordings.
Now, it looks like Amazon is taking things a step further and will allow for offline voice recognition. Unfortunately, this is only for most of its newer devices only. The feature will first be available on the 4th-gen Echo and Echo Show 10 but should come to more devices soon.