With the update, anyone that has the Alexa app downloaded on their tablets can now set up calls, meaning you don't need to have an Echo on your shelf to take advantage of free calls and messages.
The basic idea is simple, and obvious in hindsight.
Users can now enable Alexa's Follow-Up Mode which will ensure that the speaker continues to listen for a second command a few seconds after the first command is given. If the device is ready for a follow-up question, the blue indicator light will flash, thereby indicating to the user that he/she can ask the next question. With Follow-up Mode, Alexa will listen for five seconds after she's done responding to you to see if you have anything else to ask.
Meanwhile, Amazon also explained that the random laughs might have been caused by coincidental phrases that Alexa hears and processes as commands. Just make sure you have the latest Alexa app installed, have it synced with your contacts and you can then ask Alexa to call or send messages to friends and family, or drop in with any Echo device you have in your contacts.
Amazon will change the command for laughter to "Alexa, can you laugh?" and disable the shorter command.
Amazon noted that this feature will not work when music, books, or other audio is playing; when you end a conversation with Alexa by saying "stop", "cancel", "go to sleep", or "thank you;" or when "Alexa is not confident you're speaking to her". Android and iOS have extra steps, forcing you to manually open the Alexa app before you can talk to the virtual assistant, but the basics are the same.
Last year Amazon added the Alexa calling feature to Echo devices, essentially turning your smart speaker into a phone. Obviously you can't make a video call to a regular Echo, but that should be obvious seeing as how it doesn't have a camera.