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Three ways to make Amazon Echo smarter

"Alexa, why don't you understand me?"

Sharon Profis Vice President of Content
Sharon Profis is a vice president of content.
Sharon Profis
2 min read
Sarah Tew/CNET

Alexa and I have a love-hate relationship. She always hears me, but sometimes, she just doesn't get me. Like Siri in the early days, Amazon Echo is still learning natural language.

As the user base grows and Amazon continues to collect and analyze voice data, Alexa will get smarter. But until then, there are a few things you can do to improve the experience.

1. Train Alexa to better understand you

You can speed up the process of Alexa's ability to understanding you by going through a short, 2-minute training session. During the training exercise, the Echo app will display 25 phrases you'll read out loud. Hopefully by the end of it, Alexa will have a better sense of your cadence and pronunciation.

Here's how: Head to the Amazon Echo app and open the sidebar. Select Voice training. For the best results, don't read the phrases in a robotic voice -- recite them naturally.

2. Provide as much feedback as possible

Each time you say a command, a "card" appears in the Echo app. The primary purpose of those cards is to give you more information about Alexa's response to a command or question (like a link to a Wikipedia page), but there's also a section where you can provide Amazon with feedback about whether or not the command was correctly transcribed.

Here's how: Whenever you have a chance, look over the cards in the home feed of the Echo app and indicate whether or not Alexa understood you by selecting "yes" or "no."

3. Set your location

For the most personalized answers, make sure Alexa knows where you are. Your location is used for weather forecasts, location-specific news in your Flash Briefings, and making sure the time is correct.

Here's how: In the Amazon Echo app, open the sidebar and go to Settings > [Your name]'s Echo > Echo device location.