During the Amazon Devices event in September, Amazon announced a range of new smart products, including the all-new Amazon Echo Show 8 and the sci-fi-esque Amazon Echo Hub wall panel. Amazon also unveiled the new Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids tablet and the Echo Pop Kids, but the upgrades aren’t stopping there, as Amazon announced its new Explore with Alexa feature.
Among the many product announcements was exciting news about Alexa for both adults and children. Available on multiple smart home devices, including the best smart speakers and smart displays from the Amazon Echo brand, Alexa is getting some big upgrades to improve the flow of your conversations.
On multiple Echo devices, Alexa is getting smarter and chattier with AI to make the virtual assistant easier to talk to. The integration of a new large-language-model (LLM) allows Alexa to talk more realistically and ‘human’. Alongside this upgrade is the new Explore with Alexa feature that helps answer your children’s burning questions in a more fun and interactive way.
Explore with Alexa is exclusive to the Amazon Kids+ content service and subscription. Coming soon to Amazon Kids+ (which is available on Fire Kids tablets and Echo Pop Kids), Explore with Alexa offers a protected version of the LLM that’s specifically tailored to children and younger audiences.
After Amazon found that kids ask Alexa more than 25 million questions a month, the team decided to design Explore with Alexa to help children engage in kid-friendly chats with Alexa that’s fun, helpful and interactive. The way the feature works is Alexa will respond with trivia questions and fun facts that have been adapted from trusted sources for more conversational responses.
As an example, if your child asks Alexa a question about animals, it will use information from World Wildlife Fund and A-Z Animals to give their answers. To keep children interested in exploring these topics, Explore with Alexa will engage and encourage them to learn more. If kids ask for an animal sound or a joke, Explore with Alexa will help them continue to explore these topics in a fun and educational way by asking them if they want to hear something interesting.
As Explore with Alexa uses generative AI technology for its responses, it might pose a question to some parents over how safe and secure the new feature is. The Alexa Kids science and engineering team work to adapt information from existing and trusted sources and generate tens of thousands of responses that expert kids writers review before adding the responses to Explore with Alexa.
To protect your privacy and ensure your children aren’t being fed information that’s incorrect or inappropriate, Explore with Alexa uses multiple trust and safety guardrails and will redirect kids back to the conversation and away from sensitive content.
Explore with Alexa is expected to become available ‘before the holidays’. If you’re planning on buying your children an Amazon Kids+ subscription or an Echo Pop Kids for Christmas, you should get the new feature and be able to use it before the end of the year.