Amazon's Alexa Guard adds new security features to Amazon Echo smart speakers

Chris Monroe  CNET

Amazon has announced that all Echo devices in the USA will be getting a new app called Alexa Guard. You can, however, connect Alexa Guard to a professionally-monitored security system (for example, Ring Alarm or ADT Pulse) which then allows Smart Alerts to be forwarded to the security service provider.

When leaving, users will need to say "Alexa, I'm leaving" to set Alexa Guard to Away mode. Alexa Guard can listen for specific events like the sound of glass breaking or a smoke alarm going off.

As previously mentioned, Amazon is just starting to roll out Alexa Guard more widely, so don't be surprised if it isn't showing up yet. It's a strong value-add feature for Echo users, and it doesn't cost anything extra.

The revamped Echo Dot has a new look, with rounded edges, and packs more punch, with a 1.6-inch driver delivering 70-per cent-louder audio than the previous model.

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If you are subscribed to Apple Music and have been using Spotify Free account on your Alexa-supported devices at home, it's time to change your default music streaming service preference back to Apple Music. These notifications will include an audio clip, so you can hear for the noise yourself. Of course, it's fully compatible with Amazon's Alexa and thanks to the large display, you'll be able to watch live TV and sports with Hulu, make video calls, or even see who's at the front door. It delivers down-firing, 100W of bass through its 6-inch woofer, and you can pair it with an Echo or two to create a 2.1 stereo system. It won't sound an alarm or alert the authorities of a break-in. However, the Alexa Guard mode is still pretty limited as it can not inform authorities if you have intruders that's why it's intended more as a complement or as a basic security tool.

As TechCrunch reports, Alexa Guard is simply a new listening mode for your Echo. Teckin Mini Smart Outlets work with an app, Alexa, and Google Assistant, and they can be had right now for just $7.50 each when you buy a 4-pack.

All that said, Amazon is quick to point out that Guard is not a security system in and of itself.

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