Amazon Alexa: What is Alexa? How to Use Amazon Echo Dot, Plus, Show, Input

Amazon Alexa is a voice-control device such as Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Kids Edition, Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Input, or Echo Spot. It allows you to ask questions and make requests using just your voice. You can ask Alexa a question, such as “What is the weather today in London?”, or ask Alexa to do something, like “Add Diapers to my shopping list,” or “Play R&B from my Playlist.”

Amazon Alexa
Amazon Echo

You can integrate Amazon Alexa with all your compatible smart home devices. This gives you the ability to control your smart devices with your voice command. When you talk to Amazon Alexa, a recording of what you asked Alexa is sent to Amazon’s cloud. Your request is then processed and a response sent back to you. It’s that simple!

Q.: How Do I Access Amazon Alexa?

A.: Users access Amazon Alexa differently based on the type of device they have. If you have a hands-free Amazon Alexa device such as Amazon Echo, you can access it by saying the wake word. Amazon Alexa wake words are Alexa, Echo, Amazon, or Computer depending on your settings. For other devices, like certain Fire tablets, you access Alexa by pressing a button.

Q.: Does Amazon Alexa Record All My Conversations?

A.: No. Privacy is of utmost concern to millions of Alexa users worldwide and Amazon understands that. So, Alexa does NOT record all your conversations. All Echo devices, by design, only detect your chosen wake word such as Alexa, Amazon, Computer or Echo. The device detects the wake word by identifying acoustic patterns that match the wake word. No audio is stored or sent to the cloud unless the device detects the wake word (or Alexa is activated by pressing a button). It also comes with Alexa Guard. This helps you configure supported Echo devices to detect specific sounds, such as the sound of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and glass breaking.

Q.: How Does Alexa Work with Smart Home Devices?

A.: With Amazon Alexa app, you can control and check the status of a number of smart home devices like lights, thermostats, cameras, and switches. You can connect compatible smart home devices to Alexa using Alexa smart home skills. Users can also connect certain smart home devices directly to Echo devices with an inbuilt smart home hub like Echo Plus.

Q.: How Does Amazon Use My Voice Recordings?

A.: All voice recordings are basically used by Amazon to answer your questions, fulfill your requests, and enhance your experience. Amazon associates all your requests with your personal Amazon account. This is to allow you to review your voice recordings and access other Amazon services such as the Kindle books and the Audible. Keeping track of the songs you have listened to, for example, helps Alexa choose what songs to play when you say, “Alexa, play music.” It also helps Alexa to make recommendations to you based on your requests and the Alexa skills you use.

Q.: Can I Review and Delete My Voice Recordings?

A.: Yes. Amazon allows users of Echo devices to review their voice recordings. You can review all voice recordings linked to your Amazon account and delete those voice recordings one by one or all at once.

Q.: Can I Delete My Voice Recordings on Alexa using Alexa App?

A.: Yes. There are two main ways to delete your voice recordings from your Alexa account. You can use the Alexa app or on the web

Here are the steps to delete your voice recordings using Alexa app:

  1. Launch the Alexa app on your smartphone or tablet
  2. Go to Settings and select Alexa Account
  3. Tap Alexa Privacy tab and follow the instructions to complete.

You can also review those voice recordings by visiting Settings > Alexa Account > History in the Alexa app and delete those voice recordings all at once for each of your Alexa-enabled products by visiting “Manage Your Content and Devices”.

To delete those voice recordings using the web, follow the steps below:

  1. On the web browser of your device, type: https://www.amazon.com/alexaprivacy and hit the enter button.
  2. When the page opens, Sign in with your Amazon account (i.e, enter your email address and password)
  3. On the next page, tap on the Alexa Privacy tab. A list of all your Alexa-enabled devices will appear. Follow the instructions to complete.

Alternatively, you can also select the “Manage Your Content and Devices” tab at the top left-hand corner of the page to review and delete your recordings.

Note that deleting your voice recordings may degrade your Alexa experience. When you delete your voice recordings, Amazon removes the Home Screen Cards in your Alexa app associated with those voice recordings. It’s important to note that removing a Home Screen Card from your Alexa app does not automatically delete your voice recordings.

Q.: How Does Voice Profile and Automatic Voice Recognition Work?

A.: You create a voice profile so that Alexa can call you by name and do more to personalize your experience. When you create a voice profile, Alexa uses recordings of your voice to create an acoustic model of your voice characteristics. These acoustic models are stored in the cloud. Alexa can automatically recognize the voices of users in your home over time to improve personalization of certain Alexa features. You can turn off automatic voice recognition or delete any voice profile you’ve created in the Alexa app at any time. Note that automatic voice recognition is not available in every location.

Q.: What Does Local Voice Control Mean?

A.: Typically, Local Voice Control allows Alexa to carry out a limited number of requests on select Echo devices when the device is not online (i.e, not Internet-enabled), such as requests to control Alexa-compatible lights, switches and plugs. Once the Echo device comes online, the recording of your request is sent to the Amazon cloud. If you want to turn Local Voice control off, just visit Settings>Device Settings in the Alexa app.

Q.: What is Alexa Skill?

A.: Alexa skill is a simple program that you add to your Echo to enable a new ability. There are several thousands of Skills that you can add. Skills are voice-driven Alexa capabilities. You can view and enable skills in your Alexa app and enable certain skills by voice too.

Q.: How Does Voice Purchasing Work?

A.: If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can ask Alexa to order or reorder eligible products available for sale through the Amazon.com website. Using Alexa, you can subscribe to eligible services, purchase songs or albums from Amazon Digital Music Store. You can also purchase products and services through Alexa skills using your default payment and shipping settings.

Q.: Can I Turn Off Voice Purchasing?

A.: Yes, Amazon Alexa allows you to turn off voice purchasing feature from the settings. Just open to Settings > Alexa Account > Voice Purchasing in your Alexa app to turn off voice purchasing from Amazon. You can also set an optional confirmation code that Alexa will ask you to say out loud when you want to place an order from Amazon.com using Alexa.