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Amazon Alexa will now let you know when it’s learned answers to old questions

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Amazon has confirmed that a new feature is coming to Alexa devices called “Answer Update,” as reported by TechCrunch. If you ask Alexa a question and it doesn’t have the information to respond, this new feature will enable Alexa to notify you at a later time if it learns the answer.

The new feature was first discovered by digital assistant blog Voicebot, when a user asked for more information about a news item and Alexa responded by saying that sometimes it doesn’t have the answers to questions. Alexa then asked if the user wanted to activate Answer Updates. When the user asked Alexa to define Answer Updates, it responded, “If you ask me a question and I don’t know the answer, but I find out later, I’ll notify you.”

Usually, when Alexa doesn’t know the answer to a question, it will respond in a variety of ways including “I don’t know that, but I’m always learning,” or “I can’t find the answer to the question I heard.” However, with Answer Updates enabled, Alexa will send an on-device notification when it learns the answer to a question previously asked. That suggests the software — and the many human Amazon employees who oversee it — are actively trying to plug holes in the underlying knowledge graph.

The prompt will be offered randomly to customers, and an Amazon spokesperson clarified that it will be triggered when you ask Alexa a factual question it doesn’t yet know the answer to. If you want to check whether your device currently has Answer Update, simply say “Alexa, turn on Answer Update.” Answer Updates will be an opt-in feature that should roll out to Amazon Alexa users over the next week.