Do you ever wonder about everything your virtual assistant compatible device can do for you? We all know they are the wave of the future and important for keeping our lives managed in this growing digital landscape.
So if you're an Amazon Alexa user, it's about making the device work for you. As easy as it may sound, simply asking your Amazon Alexa enabled device may help provide at least a glimpse of that functionality.
What are some of the skills Alexa possesses that you may want to know about? That's what we'll be providing you in this convenient guide with just some of the hottest Alexa skills you can use now!
What's new with Alexa?
If you own an Alexa-enabled device, like the Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, you probably already know or have used some of the skills the virtual assistant has. Everything from listening to music, finding out the weather for the day or week, and setting timers while completing a task, Alexa can help you.
As Alexa evolves, so do the personal assistant's skills which are being added all the time. Let's look at some of our favorites.
Alexa, let's play a game
Amazon's Alexa, just like Google Home, includes the ability to turn a boring set of chores into a more entertaining task by playing some hands-free styled games. You can ask Alexa, for example, to launch these by saying:
- "Alexa, start Song Quiz"
- "Alexa, play Twenty Questions"
- "Alexa, open The Music Quiz"
- "Alexa. start Film Quiz"
Alexa, create my to-do list
Your Echo can be used for much more than entertainment, weather, and searches. One helpful task it can help with is create a to-do list for you. Let's face it, we all get a little busy at times and creating individual lists for daily needs is essential.
How you accomplish this is you say, "Alexa, create a to-do list," and then add tasks to your list as you think of them. It can come in handy when you can say, “Alexa, put get a tire rotation on my to-do list,” or “Alexa, add USB flash drive to my shopping list.”
Discover local businesses with Alexa
Most virtual assistants establish your location from the start, allowing you to quickly connect to search locally for things. If you've ever found yourself in a bind and need Alexa to find that local restaurant's hours, she can. Or, you can call local restaurants to place an order with just your voice.
Simply ask a question like, "Alexa, what's the number for Home Depot?" to connect to the nearest location. You can also say, "Alexa, where is the nearest Kroger?" and then say "Alexa, call them" to reach your local store.
Get in a quick workout
Many people are always thinking about living a healthier lifestyle. Eating better and working out consistently can sound intimidating. But it doesn't have to be.
With this Five Minute Workout: Core and Cardio skill for Alexa, you can jumpstart a healthier you in no-time. It's a fun fast moving 5 minute routine packed with fat burning exercises that will help tone your core.
The skill is free, so you have nothing to lose...except those unwanted extra pounds.
Set a timer with Alexa
Are you overly busy and running around the house but need to pull something from the oven at a particular time? This is a helpful feature by the way.
Alexa users, you can create and adjust that particular timer using only your voice. This setting is particularly attractive among busy or multi-tasking people who need real-time notices for these specific tasks, appointments, and time-sensitive actions.
For example, you can set a timer with Alexa by saying, "Alexa, start a thirty-minute timer," and adjust the timer to fit your needs.
Amazon Key and Alexa
If you have a Key by Amazon-compatible smart lock and an Alexa-enabled device, and you've already set your devices up in the Key app, you can lock and unlock your door with voice PIN. You can also check the status of your lock.
To get started, tap on “Enable Skill,” authenticate using Amazon username and password, either tap on ‘Discover Devices’ or say, “Alexa, discover new devices.”
To enable 'Unlock by Voice' you can go to the Alexa mobile app and follow these steps: Menu >> Smart Home >> tap on your Key device >> Edit (on the top right) >> Unlock by Voice. When you allow "Unlock by Voice" in the Alexa app, you must also set a four digit code that is required when unlocking your smart lock.
Like Star Trek, these devices are achieving that once distant dream of a universal translator but Alexa can now do exactly that. So if you've ever been in a pinch and need to know what someone is saying, now you can.
Echo requires a skill called Translated to interpret one language to many others. After enabling this skill, you can say "Alexa, open Translated," then ask how to speak English words and phrases in a specific language. The Translated skill currently supports more than 35 languages.
Listen to a podcast on Amazon Echo
Looking to listen to a podcast or use an app such as Stitcher or another like that? You can, by simply enabling the skill on your Alexa device. For example, if you download Stitcher, you can link your Stitcher account to Alexa and play your favorite podcasts.
Some commands for Stitcher include:
- Try these commands to get started:
- “Ask Stitcher to play the oldest” (plays the 1st episode of the show playing)
- “Ask Stitcher to play the latest” (plays the latest episode of the currently playing show)
- “Ask Stitcher to play my Favorites”
- “Ask Stitcher to play Saved Episodes”
- “Ask Stitcher what are my playlists?”
- “Ask Stitcher to resume” (resumes playing the last episode playing on Alexa)
- More helpful commands:
- “Ask Stitcher for help”
- “Ask Stitcher what is this episode?”
- “Ask Stitcher what is this show?”
- “Ask Stitcher what is this season?” (You can also ask for the episode description, show description and the release date)
- “Ask Stitcher to rewind”
- “Ask Stitcher to rewind 45 seconds”
- “Ask Stitcher to fast forward”
- “Ask Stitcher to fast forward 2 minutes”
- Stitcher also supports the following standard Alexa commands:
- “Alexa Pause,” “Alexa Play,” or “Alexa Resume,” “Alexa Next,” “Alexa Previous,” “Alexa Start Over,” “Alexa, tell Stitcher Resume,” “Alexa, tell Stitcher Next,” “Alexa, tell Stitcher Previous,” etc.
Stitcher on Alexa is supported for free and Stitcher Premium users. To hear premium content, you must be a Stitcher Premium subscriber.
Create your own Alexa skills
Can't find that specific skill you're looking for? Amazon Alexa now lets you publish your own skills to the Alexa Skills Store for anyone else to use as well using the Amazon Alexa Blueprints feature.
Amazon's Echo can help you out in a multitude of ways and we're constantly discovering new uses for the device. As our personal lives get more complicated, these virtual assistants help you in those times to manage it, and to add a little fun along the way.
With thousands of skills already available for Alexa, you really are talking to that technological future of the final frontier right from the comfort of your home.
Alexa can now control your Roku with this new skill
All of our devices are basically interconnected at this point. Our lights, phones, doorbells, you name it - and chances are you can control it with your virtual assistant. Well, now you can control your favorite streaming gadget, Roku. That little device can now be controlled by your Amazon Echo by simply saying "Hey Alexa, play Castle Rock on Roku."