Amazon is releasing a software update for its Echo range of smart speakers that enables households with multiple Echos to use them as room-to-room intercoms (via TechCrunch).

Once the new feature is set up, users are able to select a speaker in a specific room and communicate with it one-to-one - to call the kids to dinner from the kitchen Echo, for example.

FamilyShot centered
To enable the function, users must first give a distinctive name (such as a room) to each Echo in their household and enable the Drop-In feature using the Alexa app.

The intercom system works through household groups created during the setup process, meaning it's not limited to speakers on the same Wi-Fi, so it's possible to communicate with Echo-owning friends or relatives in a different area code, for instance. Users can also use the feature away from home using the Alexa app.

The Drop-In feature first appeared on Amazon's new Echo Show with integrated display, with some reviewers finding the video aspect a little intrusive. Similarly, there doesn't seem to be a way to block the intercom audio on the standard Echo range, so it's worth keeping this in mind before enabling it.

The update is rolling out to the Echo family of speakers this week.

Top Rated Comments

thekeyring Avatar
56 months ago
Next you'll be able to call other users.

Can't wait for this technology to become small enough to fit in my pocket and cart around with me.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djeeyore25 Avatar
56 months ago
Finally! Oh wait...I live alone.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kaibelf Avatar
56 months ago
Haven’t we seen this before?

Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BruceEBonus Avatar
56 months ago
So let's get this right. This device will allow me to talk to people with my actual voice? Beat that Darwin and your so called Theory Of Evolution!
[doublepost=1498560829][/doublepost]
Next you'll be able to call other users.

Can't wait for this technology to become small enough to fit in my pocket and cart around with me.
How preposterous. You'll also be saying we can watch images of people in our living rooms that aren't actually physically there next!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gixxerfool Avatar
56 months ago
I must be the only person who owns a house small enough to actually call someone else using nothing but my voice. Granted it does sometimes require me to walk around for a couple for a couple of seconds. I've even found myself wandering outside. The horror.

Seriously, this seems like an eavesdrop waiting to happen. I don't typically buy into conspiracy theories, but If I recall correctly this is the same company that stripped the encryption out their OS and now they want to interconnect all of these two way speakers.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TallManNY Avatar
56 months ago
I'd rather do it via iMessage tbh. Even though intercom will doubtless be a HomePod feature, it's easy peasy to AirPlay an audio message to the Apple TV or Airplay speakers.
Yeah, but at $400 for HomePods, how many homes will have multiples of those devices. There are definitely going to be features that Amazon can do better since it is selling the Dot at $50. This is one of them. And it seems great.

I was never going to set up Drop In. But if I can set it up just for this feature, I might.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
gradiente iphone white

Brazilian Electronics Company Revives Long-Running iPhone Trademark Dispute

Tuesday May 19, 2020 1:06 pm PDT by
Apple has been involved in a long-running iPhone trademark dispute in Brazil, which was revived today by IGB Electronica, a Brazilian consumer electronics company that originally registered the "iPhone" name in 2000. IGB Electronica fought a multi-year battle with Apple in an attempt to get exclusive rights to the "iPhone" trademark, but ultimately lost, and now the case has been brought to...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
apple privacy

Apple Publishes FAQ to Address Concerns About CSAM Detection and Messages Scanning

Monday August 9, 2021 1:50 am PDT by
Apple has published a FAQ titled "Expanded Protections for Children" which aims to allay users' privacy concerns about the new CSAM detection in iCloud Photos and communication safety for Messages features that the company announced last week. "Since we announced these features, many stakeholders including privacy organizations and child safety organizations have expressed their support of...
apple screen time screen icons

Persistent Kids Finding Loopholes in Apple's Screen Time Limits

Tuesday October 15, 2019 9:44 am PDT by
Apple is currently engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with persistent kids looking to circumvent Screen Time restrictions, but the company has been receiving some criticism for not moving quickly enough to lock down some of the loopholes, reports The Washington Post. A few of the loopholes and ways for parents to shut them down are documented on the site Protect Young Eyes, while these and...
2012macpro

Apple Outlines Metal-Capable Cards Compatible With macOS Mojave on 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro Models

Monday September 24, 2018 3:26 pm PDT by
Apple's new macOS Mojave update is not compatible with mid-2010 and mid-2012 Mac Pros with stock GPUs, but it is supported on 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro models that have been upgraded with graphics cards that support Metal. Apple today shared a new support document that provides a list of graphics cards that are Metal-capable, which will be useful for 2010 and 2012 Mac Pro owners who want to...
bluetti eb70 main

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Bluetti EB70 Portable Power Station and 200W Solar Panel

Friday September 3, 2021 11:13 am PDT by
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with MAXOAK to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Bluetti portable power station and an accompanying solar panel. Bluetti makes a range of portable power station options that are useful for camping, emergencies, power outages, off-grid living, and similar situations. The Bluetti EB70 is a solid middle of the road option that offers 716Wh and...
anker lightning cable mfi

Unwrap a New Apple Device? Stock Up on Extra Certified Lightning Cables for as Little as $6

Monday December 25, 2017 5:45 am PST by
If you unwrapped an Apple product today it likely came with one of the company's first-party Lightning cables, but having an extra on hand is always a good idea, so you can place it in other rooms in your house, in your car, or in a bag when you travel. For that reason, now's a good time to shop for third-party Lightning cables that are cheaper than Apple's own accessory, but still Made For...
ipad pro 10 5

Apple Discontinues 10.5-Inch iPad Pro Following Launch of Lower-Priced 10.5-Inch iPad Air

Monday March 18, 2019 6:09 am PDT by
Apple has stopped selling the second-generation 10.5-inch iPad Pro, originally released in June 2017, after launching a new 10.5-inch iPad Air today. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro had remained available from $649 following the release of 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models in October 2018, but it has been replaced by the 10.5-inch iPad Air with a cheaper starting price of $499. The new iPad...