Amazon has apparently started pushing out a new functionality to the Echo devices called the "Brief Mode", an optional feature that users can choose to either turn on or off, depending on whether they would like to constantly hear Alexa's voice or just sounds and chimes as a form of confirmation for tasks that are being performed. That is because the Brief Mode is meant to produce chimes as a replacement for Alexa's verbal confirmation so that the smart digital assistant won't have to respond with "OK" every time it carries out a task. For users who wish to have little pockets of silence while at home, they can opt to minimize Alexa's talkativeness by enabling the Brief Mode so that only quick sounds are produced when they ask the smart speaker to do something.
It seems like a Reddit user first spotted the rollout of Brief Mode to Amazon Echo devices, though the feature disappeared shortly after that, which may seem to suggest Amazon was initially testing the mode to check whether a considerable number of Echo device users will switch it on before releasing it to a broader scope of customers. The Brief Mode is supposed to minimize the chattiness of Alexa while still keeping the ease with which users are notified once the personal assistant goes to perform the task being asked of it. Keep in mind, however, that this does not completely replace Alexa's verbal confirmations.
The arrival of the Brief Mode on Amazon Echo devices follows the launch of the "Follow-Up Mode" on all Alexa-powered devices including the Echo smart speakers and Motorola's Echo Moto Mod. Normally, users who want to ask Alexa a question will have to summon the smart speaker by saying its name followed by the intended command. After a request has been fulfilled or a question answered, Alexa will then stop listening for further commands and queries. That means users will have to summon Alexa once again if they have more than one question or request because Alexa was not configured to answer follow-up questions. The Follow-Up Mode enables the Alexa-powered device to change that and accommodate multiple questions without having to call Alexa each time. Both the Brief and Follow-Up modes are supposed to make the Alexa experience for users more convenient and quick.