Alexa Guard ‘listens’ for intruders to help you protect your home

I only wonder why this hasn’t happened sooner: Amazon has updated its Echo devices to listen for intruders when no one is home.

Alexa Guard is enabled by the homeowner by saying “Alexa, I’m leaving.” Alexa’s microphone is always on, but when you enable Alexa Guard, it listens for sounds that indicate a break-in — rather than the “Alexa” or the wake word you’ve set your device to.

If it picks up the sound of a door banging open, people inside or shattering glass, it will send a notification to your phone so you can call police. If you have a home security camera in the house, you could open its app and see for yourself what’s going on.

And if you are an ADT customer or have a Ring doorbell installed, Alexa will call police for you.

Amazon said Alexa will be listening for alarms, such as a smoke or carbon monoxide detectors and will notify you if those are set off.

Why this hasn’t been an Echo thing before now I’m not quite sure. The capability has existed from the beginning. Alexa can find your phone, play “Jeopardy!” and give you the weather forecast for crying out loud.

There are third-party skills where Alexa can fight crime. Guard Dog is an Alexa skill that makes the sound of dogs barking and growling just by asking Alexa to “open Guard Dog”.

Burglar Detector plays sounds that make it seem like someone is at home, à la “Home Alone.” Enable this skill, and it will play sounds of pots and pans banging together for the Echo in the kitchen, and the sound of printers, computers and music for an Echo in the office.

Alexa Guard is rolling out to all Echo devices now. You can look for it by saying “Alexa I’m leaving.” If the feature has not been installed on your devices, she will only say “Okay, bye.”

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