Alexa has thousands of ways (the last count was 25,000) to make your life easier. You are probably familiar with some of the most common uses like making calls, playing music, or locating your phone. But there is so much more that Alexa features can do that you probably didn’t know about and here is a list of 10 that may surprisingly, be what you’ve been wanting in a virtual assistant.
Managing your household just got easier. Smart home devices such as Nest Thermostats, Philips Hue lightbulbs, and Amazon Smart Plug work with Alexa to help control the temperature, light and, appliances of your home without lifting a finger. Before you go to bed, you can say, “Alexa, dim the lights.” Or if you need the smell of coffee to get you out of bed, you can say, “Alexa, start the coffee maker” and wait till the waifs of coffee hit your nostrils before getting out of bed.
You can create lists in your Amazon Alexa Feature app on your smartphone. Gone are the days for paper and pen to add or delete things from your grocery list. Just ask, “Alexa, add noodles and carrots to my grocery list” so you’ll remember them when you’re completely distracted by your children asking for a toy. Alexa Features can also set reminders for you and then delete them once they’re completed. Say, “Alexa remind me to deposit the check today.” And then once you finish that say, “Alexa, delete ‘deposit the check’ from my to-do list.”
Everyone needs a respite from planning your next dream vacation, and Alexa is the AI to help. If you enable KAYAK on your device and set-up an account with the travel site. Once completed you can start to ask Alexa travel questions. She can help find deals on flights, book hotels, and give information about rental cars. To start exploring this feature, and just for kicks, ask Alexa creative questions like, “Alexa, ask KAYAK where can I go for 500 dollars” or “Alexa, ask KAYAK how much it costs to bring a car on the ferry to Alaska.”
Alexa has made it even easier to be chauffeured to your next activity or home. Link your Alexa with your Uber or Lyft account and say, “Alexa, ask Uber/Lyft to request a ride” and don’t even bother taking your eyes away from your favorite show while you wait for the car to arrive. It’s especially helpful if you don’t have your hands-free or time to type in your destination.
That’s right, Alexa can tell the corniest jokes with the best of them. All you have to do is say, “Alexa, tell me a knock-knock joke” and she’ll respond with something that even a 5-year-old might find cringe-worthy. If jokes don’t do it for you, try asking Alexa to tell you a limerick and see if it can rival your Irish grandmother’s poetry.
Alexa doesn’t discern between dog or cat people and can help either type of animal lover. Alexa can connect to smart feeders like Furbo or Petnet and feed your favorite pooch if you’re running late. Alexa also knows that our feline friends can get lonely if left too long. You can enable the Meow! Skill on your device and it will start talking with your kitty. To get started, all you have to do is say, “Alexa, meow.”
One of the best ways to end the day is reading to your child. Sometimes, though, you feel like there are a million other things to do and another round of Goodnight Moon could put you over the edge. Alexa is here to get you the extra minutes at the end of the day. Enable the Short Bedtime Story feature on your device and say, “Alexa, tell [your child’s name] a bedtime story” and leave the room to start that extra load of laundry.
The 36th season of Jeopardy starts in 2020, and you don’t have to miss a single question from any of the past seasons. Say, “Alexa, play Jeopardy!” and she’ll start asking you questions about world history, science, literature, sports, and pop culture. If you’re an Amazon Prime member you get a free subscription to Double Jeopardy! which gives you six extra clues every week and a chance to be in the “Greatest of All Time” tournament (OK, that’s not true, but we’re sure Alexa features can make you feel like you’re in the tournament).
Alexa can keep your New Year’s Resolution alive by reminding you to exercise with one of the more than 30 fitness-related skills. After you enable a skill, say,” Alexa, start five-minute plank” to see what your core is really made of. Alexa features can even suggest top-rated exercises if you ask, “Alexa, start a 10-minute workout.” Alexa can also lead you through meditation, yoga exercises and integrates with your Fitbit for total body metrics.
More people are familiar with the fact that Alexa can order dinner from GrubHub or Amazon restaurants, but did you know you had your own wine sommelier at your fingertips? Add in the MySomm skill and Alexa becomes Wine Gal, your own personal wine sommelier that gives wine recommendations for your meals. Enable the skill through the app or online and then say, “Alexa, ask Wine Gal to recommend a wine with chicken” and see what she decides as the perfect complement to your meal.
Curious about Alexa’s other skills? Apparently she has 24,990 other skills so just ask, “Alexa, what are your top skills?” and see what pleasant surprises are in store for you.
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