Amazon’s smart home is becoming more “ambient.” Here’s how that will look.
Here are the best Alexa skills to use with your Amazon Echo smart speaker
1. Alexa Guard
Alexa Guard turns your Echo smart speakers into security devices, listening for signs of trouble such as glass breaking or your smoke alarm going off. Your Alexa app will then notify you when it hears anything suspicious, which might be faster when you’re out of the house.
You might also be interested in Alexa Guard Plus, which is essentially a beefier version of the Alexa Guard. Not only will Alexa alert you when it sense a problem, it will contact authorities for you, too. At $50/year, it’s the cheapest professional monitoring service around.
2. Send a hug
Missing your loved ones while stuck at home? Let your friends and family know in seconds that you’re thinking of them by sending a hug through Alexa. Just say, “Alexa, send a hug” to deliver a virtual hug with any of your Alexa contacts.
It’s important to stay in touch with people you care about. Our Echo Show 8 review describes how heartwarming it is to conduct video chats, but do you know how to make a voice or video call using Alexa? You can call someone using your Echo, Echo Dot or Echo Show, whenever you want to catch up.
3. Get exclusive Amazon deals
If you ask “Alexa, what are your deals?” you’ll hear a series of Amazon Prime member-exclusive deals that you need an Alexa-enabled device to take advantage of. Once you’ve carried out a purchase, you can ask Alexa for updates on your delivery status, as well as place a reorder. Visit Amazon’s Voice Shopping page to get the sentences you’ll need to say to trigger one of the best Alexa skills available to use now.
4. Get a weather report
While Alexa has built-in support for forecasts, Big Sky is among the best Alexa skills for giving you accurate, up-to-the-minute weather information. That’s because it provides hyper-local forecasts based on your street address.
5. Get nutrition tips
Trying to make some healthy adjustments to your diet? You can ask Alexa for quick nutrition tips if you need a place to start. Although you should seek out a certified nutritionist for ongoing concerns about your diet, your voice assistant can offer some generic advice based on healthy lifestyle topics sourced from the Mayo Clinic. Just say, “Alexa, give me a nutrition tip.”
6. Talk to Alexa in different languages
Not every household speaks the same language. If you happen to live somewhere where members of the family are fluent in more than just one language, Alexa has a mode built just for you. Multilingual Mode is one of the best Alexa skills because it lets you talk in two different languages, and Alexa will understand either dialect. The service is available in the U.S. (with support for English and Spanish), India (where it will support Indian English and Hindi) and Canada (where Alexa will understand both English and Canadian French).
7. Make a donation
Through Alexa, you can donate to a charity or organization. Just say “Alexa, donate $20 to the American Cancer Society,” or even more simply, “Alexa, make a donation,”
8. Get help for your pet
If your pet is sick or acting strangely, MyPetDoc is the among the best Alexa skills to help you diagnose what’s wrong. Describe Fido’s symptoms, and Alexa will ask follow-up questions and provide advice. If Alexa doesn’t know what’s wrong, it will forward your conversation and phone number to a veterinarian
9. Get recipe ideas
It’s hard to pick just one of the best Alexa skills for cooking, as there are so many that serve different needs. Some of our favorite skills include Easy Meal Ideas for quick-and-easy recipe recommendations, America’s Test Kitchen Daily Cooking Q&A, from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated, which posts new recipes, tips and techniques in its weekly Q&A. Morton’s Salting Sous Chef can tell you exactly how to salt everything you’re cooking, and delivers general salting tips as well.
10. Listen to audiobooks
If you enjoy reading, you might also like audiobooks, since they let you to ‘read’ a book while doing other things.
11. Call another Alexa-enabled device
12. Play music
You can stream music using Alexa from a variety of services (Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Sirius XM, iHeartRadio, Deezer, Tidal, Gimme, TuneIn, Pandora, Pandora Premium and Vevo), and within each, up- or down-vote songs and play selected playlists.
13. Use Alexa as a personal trainer
Alexa can whip your behind into shape with the 7-minute-workout skill. If you say, “Alexa, start 7-minute workout,” the virtual assistant will suggest reportedly tested exercises that will increase your metabolism, improve your energy and remove fat.
14. Check your credit card balance
American Express-card holders can manage their accounts with the Amex Alexa skill.
15. Find your favorite restaurants
Looking for a place to eat? Alexa has all the information you could need about the businesses around you. Just ask “Alexa, what time does Taco Bell open?”