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Saturday Night Live writers pen new Alexa Skill

Away Mode is meant to keep burglars away — perhaps with some laughs

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Away Mode is an Alexa Skill that's designed to ward people away from your home by playing a long conversation, with some humor thrown in as well. The chatter is written, claims the Skill, by writers from SNL, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and UCB (presumably the Upright Citizens Brigade, co-founded by Amy Poehler.)

The idea is hardly new — homes where there are people inside are extremely unlikely to get robbed or bothered. It's the same idea behind getting a dog (barking is a deterrent as dealing with a large canine is not at the top of any bad guy's list) and leaving lights on too, hoping people think you're around. The skill is from Hippo Insurance — a real company that underwriters homeowners insurance, and promising a quote through their online site. (You can make the connection on your own, we think.)

The description on Away Mode even implies the same suggesting that the free Alexa Skill will evoke "…that scene from Home Alone, except instead of cardboard cutouts, it's insufferable conversations," they write.

This Alexa Skill is meant to deter burglars with chatty conversationsAway Mode

There are seven tracks are available, and they're about one hour long each — and the will work on any Alexa device. One is a mom talking through building an Ikea dresser, another is a book club meeting where they don't, of course, talk about the actual book. (You can hear 20-second samples of each one online.)

They only play in English so if you're a multi-lingual home, and someone knows that, that may put a crimp in the use of this Alexa Skill.

Out for a few weeks, the free Skill has earned some fair reviews and a few one star notices as well — there are always critics. (But apparently you do get what you pay for in this case.) Some make note of the poor recording quality even as they say the idea itself has potential. Maybe some of these SNL writers shouldn't quit their day jobs just yet.

Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility checker to see the other compatible products that work with Amazon Alexa


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