A new Alexa feature called Announcements lets you make one-way voice broadcasts to all the other Echo devices in your household.
Nearly five months after Google introduced a feature that lets its Home speaker be used as an intercom, Amazon is adding the same functionality to Alexa.
A new Alexa feature called Announcements lets you make one-way voice broadcasts to all the other Echo devices in your household. That way, if you live in a large home, you won’t need to raise your voice, or traipse from room to room, to tell everyone in the family that dinner’s ready.
You can already call another Echo device using a feature called Drop In; the Announcements capability announced today is just for one-way blasts.
“Customers can simply say to their Echo device, ‘Alexa, announce that dinner is ready,’ and ‘Dinner is ready’ will then be announced in your voice to all other compatible Echo devices in your household,” Amazon said in a statement. You can also make an announcement using the phrases “Alexa, tell everyone…,” or “Alexa, broadcast…”
Amazon started rolling out this feature today for customers in the US and Canada.
Google’s version, which arrived in November, works pretty much the same way. “Just say ‘Ok Google, broadcast it’s time for school!’ and your message will broadcast to all Assistant-enabled speakers in your home,” Google Home Product Manager Alex Duong and Google Assistant Software Engineer Nam Do explained at the time.
Amazon said that “millions” of people already have more than one Echo device in their home. If that’s you, sync them to play music simultaneously, too. To try that out, use Amazon’s Alexa app to create a group with two or more Echo devices, and give it a name like “downstairs.” You can then say “Alexa, play Justin Bieber downstairs” to start blasting “Desposito” throughout your whole first level.