Can You Rename Alexa (et al?)

I don’t want to say, “Alexa, play CNN.” I want to say, “Jeeves, play CNN.” Can I do this?

No. You can only change the wake word to Echo, Computer or Amazon.

It makes sense that it would be difficult to allow a customized wake word, it needs to be a fairly distinctive sound to be recognized reliably.

Bummer, but thank you for the answer. (And in no time at all! I’m impressed!)

Maybe this will be an option sometime down the road. (I can’t be the only one who wants it!)

Oh, it’s just a matter of time.

I do not think that is the reason at all. It would be trivial to teach Alexa a key-word to activate it assuming that keyword is stored locally. If Alexa has to phone home everytime it hears the activation word that would be a mess but I’d be surprised if they did it that way.

If a person chooses a word that Alexa just can’t get a good grasp on they’ll realize it and change it to something else. Likewise if the word is too common and turns on Alexa when merely having a normal conversation. People would understand all that and would be able to make adjustments.

I think the real reason is image and marketing only. You know lots of people would name it “shithead” or something worse which would make it into YouTube videos and movies. So, Amazon doesn’t let us change the word.

Which is a shame because there would be a lot of fun to be had if you could choose.

“Alexa” is not particularly distinctive. My Echo wakes up all the time when I say something else in conversation.

I thought I heard commercials (or articles?) along the lines of, you can buy the Samuel Jackson pack and say “Sam, [insert Amazon Echo command]”. Is that not a thing yet?


They could get around that by just offering a menu of more than three alternate words. The real problem is that people say the same words differently, even sometimes the same people, and so Amazon has apparently done a lot of wake word AI training of the four options.

I imagine a bunch of people sitting in a circle shouting “echo“ over and over, but that’s probably not how it works.

True but Alexa is voice operated. It can figure out what millions of people are saying. That’s its hook.

If you ever had one you know you go through a short training with it so is learns your voice.

And every single one would think they were sooooooo clever.

I have always been curious about the name “Alexa.” I know there are women with this name, but it’s very close to the word “alexia,” the complete inability to read (happens to people after a stroke or head injury sometimes). “Dyslexia” is difficulty reading; “alexia” is the inability to read at all. FWIW, there’s also “hyperlexia” to describe little kids who read spontaneously before age 6.

Whenever I hear ads for Alexa, I can’t help thinking “alexia.”

Was the software named for someone in particular?

Why do people bother with this silly thing?

Does it? I don’t remember that, but I’ve had mine for two or three years now, so I wouldn’t remember. The amazing this is it understands my four-year-old with a pacifier in her mouth better than I do. Seriously. And it definitely wasn’t trained on her voice. The voice recognition is astounding, sometimes.

Because it’s useful.

The irony here is Amazon allowed “computer” to be one of the wake words as a shout out to all the Star Trek nerds that would obviously be the first to buy their product.

The thing is, us Star Trek nerds can’t use that wake word because every time we watch an episode of Star Trek, the Alexa goes off. Multiple times an episode. lol

To be honest, it seems like more trouble than it’s worth. On the other hand, visiting a friend, she called out, “Alexa: play Vivaldi.” And there was Vivaldi.

Okay, I could live with that…

When I was watching Smallville on Netflix (or maybe Hulu) Alexa often responded to the name Lex (Luthor). Alexa used to respond to ads for the Echo that said Alexa, but that seems to have stopped.

I love my Alexa. I have one in every room of the house. She showers with me in the morning. She converts milliliters to ounces in the kitchen. She reads me the news and weather in the front room. She wakes me up in the bedroom. And if I want to send Barak Obama a birthday card she lets me know that his birthday is August 4th.
Like Pulykamel, I’m amazed at her understanding of youngsters. When my 4 year old granddaughter says, “Alecshs! Pljsud xisthy mfnti”, Alexa immediately pumps out The Itsy Bitsy Spider. Remarkable!
And I programmed her to to all this with an Indian accent, just because I like the way she sounds.

There’s an American-born (Oklahoma, of all places) K-pop star named AleXa. I wonder what would happen if you said, “Alexa, play AleXa”.

Moderator Note

Let’s not threadshit. If you think it’s silly, there is no reason to post in this thread.

GQ Moderator