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Your Amazon Echo just learned new tricks – 3 things to try now

There are plenty of things that a virtual assistant can do for you. Other than telling you the time or weather, devices like the Amazon Echo can also help plan your day and so much more. The technology has become so amazing that it can even listen for weird sounds in your house.

But the software that drives Alexa-enabled devices is constantly evolving. Amazon recently added two more celebrity voices to change Alexa’s tone, in addition to Samuel L. Jackson’s iconic speech. So, if you like the idea of Melissa McCarthy helping you out, now you can.

Keeping the updates rolling, Amazon just unveiled a few more tricks that Alexa can do. And if you don’t want to call her Alexa anymore, well, there is some good news for you too.

Here’s the backstory

Released earlier this month, Amazon is giving you the ability to change Alexa’s tone. The computer-generated voice has undoubtedly always been female, but a new setting can make her sound more masculine.

To do this, all you have to say is, “Alexa, change your voice.” To change it back to the original voice, you can say the same command. You can also use the Alexa app to change the voice setting.

1. Here’s how to change Alexa’s voice in the app:

  • Open the Amazon Alexa app.
  • Tap the Devices tab at the bottom.
  • Select the Echo & Alexa button in the top left.
  • Choose the device you want to change Alexa’s voice on.
  • Tap the Settings cog wheel button in the upper right.
  • Scroll down to the option for Alexa’s Voice and select it.
  • Choose Original (the feminine voice) or New (the masculine voice).

If you want to call her by another name, however, Amazon is allowing you to do that. There is nothing wrong with the name Alexa, but you might prefer now to call her Ziggy.

Amazon hasn’t confirmed it, but we think the name Ziggy is a nod to David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust. The update was released a few days before Jeff Bezos blasted off into space.

Or you might want to go with “Amazon,” “Echo,” or the rather impersonal “Computer.”

2. How to change the wake word

If you need a bit of variety in your life, there is a simple way to change the wake word. All you must do is say, “Alexa, change the wake word.” From there, Alexa will guide you through the rest of the process.

If you prefer to do it through the Amazon Alexa app, you can do that too. Here’s how:

  • Open the Alexa app on your mobile device and tap the Menu icon.
  • Tap Settings, and then Device Settings.
  • Select the device that you want to change the wake word for.
  • Select the new wake word that you’d like to use. You can choose from Ziggy, Alexa, Amazon, Echo and Computer.

Routines are now also easier to set up. Routines are shortcuts for Alexa, saving you time by grouping together many actions, so you don’t have to ask for each one individually. There are many ways to activate Routines — via voice, time of day, with your smart home devices, when you turn off your alarm and more.

3. How to enable a Featured Routine:

  • Open the Alexa app.
  • Select More from the bottom navigation.
  • Select Routines from the menu.
  • Tap Featured and tap on the name of a Featured Routine, then tap enable and your new routine is ready to use.
  • You can also enable a Featured Routine by voice. Some examples include:
    • Alexa, enable the Good Morning Routine – Alexa will wish you good morning, tell you something new, then play your Flash Briefing.
    • Alexa, enable the Start My Day Routine – Alexa will tell you news, traffic and more.
    • Alexa, enable the Screen Time Routine – Alexa will keep track of an hour of screen time.
    • Alexa, enable the Weather after Alarm Routine – Alexa will tell you the weather when you dismiss your alarm.
    • Alexa, enable the Good Night Routine – Alexa will wish you good night and play sleep sounds.

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