Are you like millions of others who are turning their place into a "smart home?" This, of course, means a home that is equipped with electronic devices that can be controlled remotely by a computer or phone.
This practice is becoming so common that a world of virtual assistants has opened up. Instead of tapping an app to play your music, then another app to put on your lights, and yet another to turn down the thermostat, you can just do all that from a single home hub.
One of the most popular virtual assistants is Amazon's Alexa. You can find Alexa in several Amazon products such as the Echo, Dot and Tap.
Amazon is constantly updating Alexa's performance. The virtual assistant is now able to help you with over 15,000 skills.
Alexa is also making its way into non-Amazon products. We recently told you about the Lenovo Smart Assistant, which looks similar to the Amazon Echo but has a few subtle differences.
Now that Alexa will no longer be confined to Amazon products, it's bound to turn up in many more homes. If you don't have an Alexa enabled gadget now, you probably will some day.
That's why we're going to tell you about some helpful Alexa commands that you might not know exist.
Helpful Alexa commands
Getting Amazon's virtual assistant's attention when using connected speakers is quite simple. All you need to say is "Alexa" and she is ready to execute your command. Let's start with the basics.
- Alexa, help
- Alexa, mute
- Alexa, unmute
- Alexa, stop
- Alexa, turn up/down the volume
- Alexa, go to sleep
Alarm clock and calendar
- Alexa, what time is it?
- Alexa, what's the date?
- Alexa, set an alarm for 6 a.m.
- Alexa, snooze
- Alexa, set a repeating alarm for 6 a.m. weekdays
- Alexa, when's my next alarm?
- Alexa, cancel my alarm for 8 a.m.
- Alexa, cancel all alarms
- Alexa, set a timer for 30 minutes
- Alexa, set a second timer for 10 minutes
- Alexa, add an event to my calendar
- Alexa, what's on my calendar for today?
A Flash Briefing is a quick overview of news and other content that you can discover and enable in the Skills section of the Alexa app. Alexa reads text or plays audio content provided by each enabled skill. Flash Briefing's typically become a regular part of your day.
- Alexa, give me my Flash Briefing
- Alexa, what's in the news?
- Alexa, open USA Today (Go ahead, ask her to find my articles, Kim Komando in the Tech section, too )
- Alexa, next
- Alexa, previous
- Alexa, pause
Local and traffic information
- Alexa, how is traffic?
- Alexa, what's my commute like?
- Alexa, what restaurants are nearby?
- Alexa, what are the hours for the grocery store?
- Alexa, is the pharmacy open?
- Alexa, what time is the movie, "Rogue One" playing?
- Alexa, what's the temperature?
- Alexa, will it snow tomorrow?
- Alexa, what's the forecast for this weekend?
- Alexa, what's the weather in Seattle?
- Alexa, what will the weather be like in New York tomorrow?
- Alexa, is it going to rain today?
- Alexa, what's the extended forecast for Las Vegas?
Smart home commands
- Alexa, discover my smart home devices
- Alexa, connect to my phone
- Alexa, Bluetooth - this will pair a Bluetooth gadget
- Alexa, turn on the lights
- Alexa, turn on the TV
- Alexa, raise the temperature 5 degrees
- Alexa, set the temperature to 75
- Alexa, lock my front door
- Alexa, tell Geneva to preheat my oven to 350 degrees - You can control GE appliances with the Geneva skill
- Alexa, play my Oldies playlist
- Alexa, play the Top Pop station
- Alexa, what's playing?
- Alexa, what's this song?
- Alexa, play music by Elvis
- Alexa, play the top songs this week
- Alexa, turn it up/down
- Alexa, stop the music
- Alexa, resume
- Alexa, shuffle my new music
- Alexa, play the Frank Sinatra station on Pandora
- Alexa, add this song to my Prime Music library
- Alexa, play some blues
- Alexa, shop for new music by Ed Sheeran
- Alexa, what's popular from U2?
- Alexa, play samples by Louis Armstrong
- Alexa, buy Nevermind by Nirvana
Order products from Amazon
- Alexa, order laundry detergent
- Alexa, buy bathroom tissue
- Alexa, reorder toothpaste
- Alexa, add protein bars to my cart
- Alexa, track my order
- Alexa, where's my stuff?
- Alexa, order an Echo Dot
- Alexa, create a to-do list
- Alexa, I need to make a doctor appointment
- Alexa, I need to wash clothes
- Alexa, add milk to my shopping list
- Alexa, put get an oil change on my to-do list
Those are just a few of the Alexa commands that are available now. The list of commands will inevitably expand in the future.
How to make Alexa call 911
If you have any Amazon Alexa-connected devices, you already know how helpful they can be. You might even have a few around the house, including in your family room, kitchen and your home office. But can Alexa help with more serious tasks, like in an emergency situation? The answer is yes, it now has a skill that could actually come to the rescue.