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 appliances that can be controlled remotely by a computer, phone or virtual assistants.
And at the center of the smart home revolution is Amazon's Alexa. Because of this, Amazon is poised to go all in with Alexa to take over more parts of your home. From your bedroom to your kitchen, to your car, Amazon is constantly updating Alexa's talents to better serve you!
In fact, the virtual assistant is now able to help you with over 50,000 skills and counting. Seems too much? Well, we'll narrow them down for you. Here are seven Alexa commands you should be using right now.
1. Listen to podcasts
You're listening to a podcast in the living room, right next to your Echo. Then you realize you need something from the garage. You don't want to lose the flow, so you pick up a compatible device. "Alexa, send that to my Fire tablet," you say. Now your podcast is portable.
This process works with Echo Dot, of course, which is its own speaker system and can be placed in multiple rooms.
Did you know that you can also listen to your favorite Komando podcasts by just asking Alexa? Tap or click here to learn how.
2. Find your misplaced phone
You simply can't find your phone, no matter how many cushions you rip out of your sofa. How will you ever tell your spouse to pick up milk on the way home?
Then you remember, you can ask Alexa to ring your phone via the TrackR "Find My Phone" skill. Install the TrackR app on your phone then enable the skill on your Echo. It can be a total lifesaver.
Simply say "Alexa, ask TrackR to ring my phone” and your paired phone will start sounding off loudly (even when it's in Silent or Do Not Disturb mode), and you can follow the ringtone or vibration to its location. This trick is especially handy when you're alone.
3. Make a to-do list
The to-do list is one of Alexa's most secretarial abilities, and it will benefit organized and disorganized people alike.
To get started say, "Alexa, create a new to-do." Once you have established the list, you can easily add new items to it by saying "add X to my to-do." ("Alexa, add dinner at Mom's to my to-do," or "Alexa, add finish company report to my to-do.")
4. Purchase items on Amazon
It shouldn't be surprising that a device created by the world's biggest online retailer would make it simple to buy things from Amazon.
The easiest objects to purchase are the ones you've ordered in the past. You can say, "Alexa, buy more paper towels," and the device will automatically place an order for the brand you've already bought.
Say you're listening to a song on Amazon Music. You find yourself bobbing your head and thinking deep thoughts, and you spontaneously decide to keep it forever. It's as easy as saying, "Alexa, buy this song."
5. Arrange a rideshare
Without having to touch your phone, much less turn it on and fire up an app, you can orally arrange a ride by enabling the Lyft skill then by saying "Alexa, ask Lyft to request a ride."
If you already have an account with Lyft and have coordinated these services, you can call a car to your house.
6. Operate smart appliances
The smarter your house gets, the more appliances you'll be able to operate with your voice.
It looks like a little horseshoe crab that happens to suck up Cheerios. With Echo, you can order your Powerbot or Roomba to clean the carpets, using only your voice: “Alexa, tell Powerbot to vacuum” or "Alexa, ask Roomba to start cleaning."
The list is as big as a house. With a smart thermostat, you can say, "Alexa, set the temperature to 78 degrees." With a smart security system, you can say, "Alexa, lock my door." Just call out, "Alexa, dim the lights," and your smart lamps will set a new mood.
You don't necessarily have to be in the same room as the smart device. With the Garageio device, you can tell your Echo, “Alexa, ask Garageio to close my garage,” and your door will roll shut.
7. Find Easter eggs
OK, these aren't literal Easter eggs, but the little gags and surprises that programmers leave in certain software. Ever since Echo became available, owners have been talking about Alexa's ability to tell you a joke. (Just say: "Alexa: Tell me a joke.") Coming from a small tower, these jokes give new meaning to "stand up comedy."
But there are numerous other Easter eggs as well. Here are some favorite nerdy recommendations: "Alexa, set phasers to kill." "Alexa, show me the money." "Alexa. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot."
And perhaps the best: "Alexa, what is your quest?"
What will Alexa say in response? You'll just have to ask and find out.