As promised, Amazon is adding group calling to Echo devices — just in time for those socially distant holiday get-togethers. If you live in the US, you can use Alexa to start a group call on our Echo speaker or display. So long as one person in your circle has created a group, anyone in that group can start a voice or video conversation with other members. As you might imagine, that could be particularly helpful for connecting with family.
You’ll have alternatives. Both Zoom and Amazon Chime calls are rolling out on the Echo Show 8 to let you join videoconferences without reaching for a laptop or handheld device. One-on-one chats, meanwhile, now offer captioning for voice and video calls on all Echo Show devices. That could be vital if you’re hard of hearing or simply have a noisy household.
There’s something for younger chatters, too. Children using either a Fire Kids Edition tablet or the Amazon Kids app on a regular tablet now have the option of placing Alexa-to-Alexa voice and video calls to approved contacts. Incoming calls from approved contacts is only due in the “coming months,” but this is still helpful if you’d like your kids to talk to their grandparents without asking for help.