Last year, Amazon released the touch-screen Echo Show, which enabled users to make voice calls over their Echo devices for the first time. Shortly thereafter, Amazon introduced another feature, Drop In, that allows users to unexpectedly access the echo devices of their friends and family. This feature is different from your regular voice call because you can automatically connect to a device, provided you have access, and the person on the other end has not muted the feature.
For users with multiple home echo devices, this feature can work much like a intercom or baby monitor. While it raises some potential privacy concerns, Amazon has done a pretty good job of ensuring that you have as much control as possible when it comes to who allows you to stop by in your life. However, the feature is not enabled by default for contacts, so you must give users manual access to your devices. How It Works:
: Download the App
First, make sure you have the Alexa app downloaded to your Android or iOS device have (and this is the latest version). Currently Drop In is only available for Echo, Echo Dot (first and second generation), Echo Show and the Alexa App. The app allows you to access other devices, but you can not receive a drop-in call (but you can receive voice calls). After downloading and launching the app, you should be prompted to set up Alexa Calling and Messaging. If you do not, tap the balloon at the bottom of the screen to log in.
Step 2: Enable Drop In
Next, tap Settings and select the devices for which you want to drop in want to allow. Type Drop In under General and turn it on. On you can receive calls from previously approved contacts, while Only on my home can restrict calls to devices in your home. Off however, disables the feature completely. Again, the feature is not enabled by default for any of your contacts, so you must give users manual access to your devices.
Step 3: Call
To access your contacts and initiate a call, tap the Conversations icon again, and then tap the silhouette of a person in the upper right corner. Click the person you want to grant access to and select Allow Drop In . Once you're done setting up the feature, just say your device's wake word and "Drop in" [person’s name] "to start a call.You can also call the Contacts page
When someone hits you, the ring of light on your echo will pulsate green and they will automatically connect so that they can hear everything within reach of your device. If you and your contact use a screen-equipped device, the video will be distorted for a few seconds, giving you the opportunity to present yourself better if you are not already, but please note that you can turn off the video at any time during the call by selecting "Video off" or Touch the screen and select video from .
If you do not want to receive drop-in calls – after all, who wants his friends to know what they're doing every second do it day? – You can also activate Do Not Disturb on your echo, blocking the drop-in feature until you turn it off.
David Cogen – a regular contributor to Digital Trends – operates TheUnlockr, a popular technology blog that focuses on tech news, tips and tricks, and the latest technology. You can also find it on Twitter about the latest technical trends.