(Pocket-lint) - "Alexa, tell everyone it's time to go!" Wouldn't it be nice if Alexa could help you hurry your family along or maybe announce that dinner is ready?

Now, families with Echo devices in their home can do just that, thanks to a new "Alexa Announcements" feature that's already rolled out in the US and has just been announced (geddit?) for the UK as well. 

Here's what it is and how it works.

What are Alexa Announcements?

With Alexa Announcements, you can ask Alexa to make announcements on all compatible Echo devices in your household. Think of it as a one-way intercom, with no set up is required.

People nearby an Echo in your household will hear a short chime to indicate there is an incoming announcement, and then the announcement will play in the voice of whoever is making the announcement. Cool, right?

How do Alexa Announcements work?

Create your own announcement

To create an Alexa Announcement, simply say "Alexa, announce", and then say your announcement aloud. You can also say "Alexa, broadcast", and again, tack on your voice message at the end.

So, for instance, you can say, "Alexa, broadcast 'the movie is starting.'" Everyone in your home within earshot of an Echo device will hear a chime followed by you saying, "the movie is starting."

Use stock announcements

Or you can simply say to your Echo device, “Alexa, announce that dinner is ready,” and “Dinner is ready” will then be announced in your voice to all other compatible Echo devices in your household. You can also say, “Alexa, tell everyone…” to make an announcement.

Can I exclude devices? 

If you want to exclude a specific device within your household, say, in the bedroom where your husband is sleeping, Amazon said you can use the Do Not Disturb setting. Learn more about Do Not Disturb.

Which Echo devices support the feature?

Alexa Announcements are available across Amazon's entire lineup of Echo smart speakers. Third-party Alexa devices aren't included.

Can Google Home do announcements?

Yep. Google began offering this same functionality for its Google Home line of smart speakers this past November. To use the feature, you just say, “Hey Google, broadcast ‘It's time for dinner!’” and your message will be sent through - but in the Assistant’s voice, not your own.

Liked this? Check out Amazon Alexa Easter Eggs: Your complete guide to funny Alexa commands

Writing by Maggie Tillman.