After almost six months of wait, Amazon has updated its digital assistant, Alexa, to enable ‘Drop-in’ feature for all the Echo Devices in India. For the uninitiated, the Drop-in feature makes it possible to make calls, send voice, text messages Echo devices of your friends and family. Best part, you can make a call back to your Echo device if it is at home.
Drop in with messages & calls:
This is going to be my favorite feature. You can now make a call to your contacts who have an Echo device. The app will access your contacts, and periodically update to the cloud, and find out of the person has an Echo device or not. Using Drop-in feature, you can send a text message, voice calls on Echo Show like device or a simple call, just like how you do on WhatsApp. This is how the setup looks like, and profile of any contact with an Echo device.
I tried making a call back home from the office, and it was an ok experience. My wife was able to hear my voice clearly, and so was I, but then there was some lag (latency). My home internet has less than 1 Mbps speed, so as of now, I have my doubts on the connection, but it works.
Managing your Privacy with Drop-in Feature:
If you don’t want your contacts to call on your Echo device, Alexa app offers few settings to limit it.
- Go to Settings >Your Echo Device > Drop-in.
- Here you can choose between the three:
- Only my household
‘Only My Household’ allows you to let people call who are listed as your household member or only from the contacts with permissions. Look at the screenshot above, and there you see an option “Allow Drop in”, you will need to enable this for contacts from which you wish to get messages.
So what is ‘My Household’? It’s a feature available which allows you to associate your spouse and your kids with your Amazon Account. Sadly, it is still not available in India, but I am guessing that this will get enabled soon, as Personalization feature and Drop-In features are here. This is how it looks like in my Amazon.com Account:
It’s good to see Amazon has made a positive move for India and is trying to match features available in the US. However, it is mostly used as Music Streaming device, and less for getting queries answered. Only with more efforts, this can be a true Digitial Assistant we all were looking forward to.