Voice assistants such as Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple's Siri are capable of performing more tasks than you might think, especially if you haven't checked in with them for a while. Amazon calls these third-party apps 'skills', and there are now over 100,000 available in the Alexa Skills store. So how many would we actually use?
Plenty of these skills are completely rubbish but there's more to Alexa than just checking the weather, turning on the lights and ordering takeaway food. Whether you have an Echo speaker, or an Alexa-enabled device, we’ve picked some of the best Alexa skills you should try out. To find new features, open the skills store in the Alexa app or simply say the correct voice command to auto-enable them.
Control your console
When Microsoft introduced voice commands to its console at the launch of Xbox One, it didn’t really take off and has been mostly absent since. Now, with the Xbox Alexa Skill, it’s finally modernised. The skill gives you the handsfree ability to turn your Xbox on and off, launch games, adjust volume, request clips be recorded and, even, start a party with your friends. This fully-featured skill makes it easy to dodge about your Xbox without stopping what you’re already doing.
Make the most of Amazon Prime
While Amazon Prime already gives you a decent range of benefits, from faster delivery to Prime Video and more, Alexa can help you can even more out of your subscription. This Alexa skill, activated by “Alexa, what are your deals?”, allows you to check the status of your orders, add items to your basket, hear about Prime-exclusive deals alongside more specific requests like “Alexa, what’s the most popular headphones?"
Tick off your to-do list
Todoist is one of the best productivity apps around, helping you organise your life into to-do lists and provide a ton of insight into how you’re getting on day-by-day – including a handy calendar view. It's also one of the best Alexa skills, adding intuitive voice integration to your daily tasking. With the Todoist Alexa skill, you can add items to your various to-do lists, ask what you’ve got going on and check off tasks you’ve completed.
Get a hand in the kitchen
Not only can Alexa create shopping lists, search for recipes and set timers, it can convert units of measurements: you can ask it to convert two cups to milliliters, or how much a cup of flour weighs. If you’re counting calories, it can let you know much you’re taking in – at least for certain items. Try saying, “Alexa, how many calories are in a chicken breast?”, for example. Once you’re done cooking, you might want to know what wine to best pair your meal with. There are various apps that make it possible to log the food you eat and drinks you have. Just tell Alexa about your meals on the day.
Create a smart home routine
Amazon’s Routines feature allows you to program Alexa to perform certain actions by speaking a single command. “Alexa, goodnight”, for example, could turn off your lights, TV and downstairs heating system. You could create a separate routine for the morning if you want Alexa to turn on the lights, read you the day’s weather forecast and then start your favourite playlist. To set up a new routine, tap Routines in the Alexa app and choose the “When this happens” button to enter the phrase and associated actions.
Get a personal fitness trainer
Alexa can take you through a seven-minute workout or five-minute plank. If you’re not sure how to do the exercises, the app on your phone will show pictures. Connect Alexa with Fitbit and it will be able to read out the data from your tracker, including the number of steps taken, distance covered, last logged weight, and calories burned. There is a long list of phrases that Alexa will understand as long as they start with “Alexa, ask Fitbit…”. You can ask for stats from today, yesterday or any specific day of the week.
Hear a bedtime story
If you’d like Alexa to read you or your kids a story, there are endless integrations. Amazon Storytime, for instance, generates a random story for children aged 5-12. Story Teller lets you ask for a specific genre such as sci-fi, fantasy or ‘scary’. There are even interactive tales: Crazy Stories or Story Maker will ask a number of questions or request prompt words to build the story. There are various other features for kids to entertain them, including the Science Buddy quiz or spelling tests.
Find your phone
If you sign up for a TrackR account and download the app onto your iOS or Android smartphone, the feature can be connected to Amazon. Ask Alexa to ring your phone and the device will play at full volume, even if it is in silent mode. This feature also works for a missing wallet or keys – as long as they have a TrackR Bluetooth tag attached to them.
Keep your home secure
Alexa Guard listens for glass breaking or the sound of alarms coming from smoke detectors when you're away from home. The voice assistant will send you an alert with an audio clip for review. The feature can also make it seem like you’re at home by turning on connected lights. Once you've enabled the feature in the app’s setting, say “Alexa, I’m leaving” to activate the guard. When it comes to the other type of security, McAfee has partnered with Amazon. People with a McAfee router can ask how many devices are on their home network, run scans on the network for vulnerabilities, or select time controls for children accessing the internet.
Let Alexa know your music taste
You can stream music from a variety of services with voice commands, including Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, iHeartRadio, and Pandora, and within each, create and play playlists. Playlists can even be picked based on activities such as workouts. Amazon Music users can ask Alexa to follow an artist and get notified whenever they drop new music, either on the mobile app or with a yellow light ring on an Amazon Echo. If you like or dislike a song, just let Alexa know and it will remember for future requests.
Clean your flat
Alexa can clean your home. Well, kind of. A number of robot vacuums, from Samsung, iRobot, Neato and Shark, can be commanded to start and stop cleaning using Alexa. It is also possible to create a chore chart in family households that might help avoid any arguments. Alexa can be paired with Dyson’s Wi-Fi connected air purifier too and switched on and off by voice command.
Say thank you in Français
Amazon is currently working on real-time translation for Alexa, but in the meantime you can add the Translated skill and have it translate short sentences from English into one of 37 languages. If you want to listen to the translation again just ask the assistant to slow down or repeat. It’s not just languages, either. Have you ever wondered why your cat rubs her tail against your legs or why it demands attention while you’re working on the laptop? Cat Translator can explain the mysteries of weird cat behaviour.
Ask Alexa what it can do
If Alexa can’t do something out of the box, there is probably a skill for it. And Amazon has introduced a neat Alexa skill, called Skill Finder, that helps you look for those skills: You can ask, "Alexa, what are your new skills?" to find integrations that you might not know about. It is also possible to search for skills by category by asking, “Alexa, tell Skill Finder to list the top skills in the health category”. If you’re still out of luck, there is a workaround to connect Alexa to unsupported devices, apps and websites: IFTTT (If This Then That) publishes various free step-by-step guides, called recipes, to programming skills.
Have I been pwned?
It seems like hardly a month goes by without a new data breach being announced. ';--have I been pwned? is a website that allows you to check if your email address has been part of any major data breaches. Say, "Alexa, open have I been poned?" to add the skill and receive a verbal report. It is probably quicker and easier to type long email address on the website instead of using voice command.
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Skills are like apps for Alexa. With an interactive voice interface, Alexa gives users a hands-free way to interact with your skill. Users can use their voice to perform everyday tasks like checking the news, listening to music, or playing a game. Users can also use their voice to control cloud-connected devices.What commands can you do with Alexa? ›
Basic Alexa commands
Ask for help: "Alexa, help." Mute or unmute: "Alexa, mute" or, "Alexa, unmute." Stop or pause: "Alexa, stop" or, "Alexa, shut up." Change volume: "Alexa, set the volume to 5," "Alexa, louder" or, "Alexa, turn up/down the volume."
The code to say is: "Alexa, Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start", as revealed on TikTok.How do you get Alexa to give short answers? ›
- Open the Alexa app.
- Go to the Settings menu.
- Under Alexa Preferences, select Voice Responses.
- Select Brief Mode to toggle on or off.
Alexa Skills are voice-driven Alexa Cloud Service capabilities which enable you to control select products through the Amazon® Alexa™ app that runs on Amazon Echo™ and Amazon Echo Dot™ devices. With this feature you can use your voice to turn your TV on or off, change channels, control volume, and more.What do most people use Alexa for? ›
Most people use their Amazon Echo smart speaker to listen to radio stations, stream music, set timers and alarms, control smart home devices, including smart lights, connected thermostats and appliances. Of course, Alexa can also search the web and offer flash news briefings, weather reports, sports scores and more.How do you talk to venom on Alexa? ›
- ”Alexa, Open Venom Trivia”
- ”Alexa, Launch Venom Trivia”
- ”Alexa, Start Venom Trivia”
So a couple of months back, a fun Easter egg that would be identified and enjoyed by retro gamers was discovered. This was the Super Alexa mode. If you would like to activate the Super Alexa Mode, say the subsequent voice command: “Alexa, up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start.”Can Alexa call 911? ›
But will Alexa dial 911 for you in an emergency? You can't ask Alexa to dial 911 or other emergency services directly, unless you have an Echo Connect hooked up to a landline phone. You can, however, set up a personal emergency contact, and turn on Alexa Guard for home security.Can Alexa be hacked? ›
Over the years, researchers have hacked Alexa to find vulnerabilities bad actors could exploit. In 2020 the cybersecurity company firm Check Point discovered one that would allow hackers to install Alexa with malware capable of stealing your personal information.
Say "Alexa, up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start." Alexa will respond "Super Alexa mode activated. Starting reactors, online.Can I rename Alexa? ›
Select Devices . Select Echo & Alexa. Select your device. Select Edit Name.Can Alexa stop saying OK? ›
Here's the good news - users can stop Alexa from saying 'OK' by enabling the Brief Mode. Under this mode, Alexa follows all commands with a brief beep instead of a voice response.What wont Alexa answer? ›
If Alexa lights up but won't respond, the most common reason is that it didn't understand you, so repeat the command. It might also have ignored the command if it thought your request was intended for another nearby Alexa device. You can also check your Wi-Fi connection and network settings, or reset the Alexa device.What words will Alexa respond to? ›
You can change the wake word of any Echo speaker or smart display from “Alexa” to “Ziggy,” “Echo,” “Amazon,” or “Computer” for free. (Note: If you are using a third-party device with Alexa built in, you may not have the option to change the wake word.)Is there a monthly fee for Alexa? ›
A: There is no monthly fee to use your Alexa/Echo device. However, if you want to listen to specific songs by a specific artists, you will be prompted to start a music unlimited subscription. Helpful?Can Alexa switch on lights? ›
You can connect an Alexa device to smart lights in your house and set up context-aware lighting using the Alexa app. When you set up context-aware lighting, you can turn on all the lights in whatever room you're in with a simple command. You can find and connect to smart lights in the Devices tab of the Alexa app.Can Alexa Play TV channels? ›
Can Alexa Play TV Shows? Yes, with the Echo Show, Alexa can play videos, movies and TV shows using many of the same streaming services you might use on your smart TV. You can view the available streaming services by manually swiping left and then selecting Video. You can also simply say “Alexa, open Video Home”.Why does Alexa light up when no one is talking? ›
It's Alexa's way of telling you the smart speaker is in Setup Mode or attempting to connect to your Wi-Fi network.What does Alexa stand for? ›
Amazon chose the name Alexa because it “was inspired by the Library of Alexandria and is reflective of Alexa's depth of knowledge,” Lauren Raemhild, a public relations specialist for Amazon, said in a statement, referring to the late-pharaonic-era institution in Egypt.
Despite Amazon's secrecy, an extremely likely candidate source for the voice of Alexa has been revealed by author Brad Stone. According to Wired, Stone's research for his book, "Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire," pointed to Boulder, Colorado, voice actress Nina Rolle.Can Alexa cuss at you? ›
Of course, the assistant has foul words blocked, but she will say other words that phonetically sound similar to a swear word. For instance, you can say falk/faq instead of using the F-word. Samuel L. Jackson Alexa's voice comes with more new phrases and explicit content.Can I make Alexa sound like Jarvis? ›
Go to the “More” section. Select “Skills & Games” from the list. Search for Jarvis using the text box. Tap on “Enable To Use” once you purchase the voice pack.How do you start an Alexa fight? ›
You can start the argument from either side. So you can say to Alexa: "Alexa, Open Cyber Argument" and it will start the argument, and invoke the Cyber Argument application on Google Assistant.What happens if you tell Alexa The Konami Code? ›
Super Alexa mode is activated with the famous Konami Code, also known as the Contra Code. It invokes a silly response that sometimes includes an obscure League of Legends reference. It's an Easter egg rather than a practical feature.What is the ultimate Alexa? ›
Ultimate Alexa is a full-featured voice assistant that uses the Amazon Alexa voice service, and is the first app on Google Play to support Alexa's Display Card technology – like the Amazon Echo Show. Hear and see weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, news headlines, Wikipedia entries, and much more.What other names can Alexa go by? ›
Alexa will go through the available options. You can select “Amazon,” “Computer,” “Ziggy,” or “Echo.” Say the option you like best. After you've switched the wake word, “Alexa” will appear as one of the options the next time you want to make a name change.What happens if you say Alexa emergency? ›
If anyone from your household asks Alexa to call for help (including from devices in Amazon Kids mode), Alexa attempts to call and message your emergency contact. If your Echo device isn't connected to Wi-Fi or the phone number is incorrect, Alexa is unable to call or text your emergency contact.Is Alexa different than Echo? ›
Alexa is the virtual assistant, while Echo is the smart speaker device.Does Alexa use Wi-Fi? ›
That being said, does Alexa require Wi-Fi to function? The short answer is yes. Amazon's Alexa requires a working internet connection to access all the different features it offers.
Alexa can not directly call 911 on its own, but it can also use external hardware and third-party skills to help you during a crisis. Equipment such as Amazon's own Echo Connect can connect your Alexa device directly to a landline, making a call for 911 possible.Does Alexa spy on what you say? ›
Even if Alexa doesn't save everything you say, it does collect enough data to understand your voice. Amazon claims that it uses this information to make its devices better and more accurate.Why is Alexa closing? ›
On May 1, 2022, Amazon shut down Alexa Internet which subsequently discontinued Alexa Rank with it. While Alexa Internet didn't publicly state why they retired the service, it's likely because of the lack of interest from digital marketers.What are the 4 Wake words for Alexa? ›
Unlike its rivals, Amazon allows users to change the Alexa wake word and add a pinch of variation to the Echo devices experience although there are only four different wake words on offer: Ziggy, Amazon, Computer and Echo.Can Alexa work with clapping? ›
This skill integrates Alexa with the original "The Clapper(tm)" device. Just say, "Alexa, ask my smart home to turn on the light", and Alexa will take care of communicating with The Clapper(tm) for you, saving you the effort of clapping your own hands together. Great for hands-free operation!Who's smarter Siri or Alexa? ›
Google Assistant with 92.9%, Siri with 83.1%, and Alexa with 79.8% accuracy of all the questions.Is Alexa being removed? ›
The Alexa Internet web tracking service will go dark next year, but Alexa the voice assistant isn't going anywhere.Does Alexa respond to thank you? ›
Also, if you say “Thank you” after she's performed an action for you,” she'll say “No problem,” “You bet,” or another acknowledgement of your gratitude. Alexa won't hear you say “Thank you,” however, unless you have Follow-up Mode enabled.Does Alexa ever stop listening? ›
However, it's a truth that yes, Alexa is always listening. Don't fear however as Alexa is only 'passively listening' and on-call for the Alexa 'wake' word so it can respond to your requests.Why is my Alexa red? ›
If your Echo speaker is showing a red ring light then it's likely your microphone has been turned off. You can simply turn them back on using the top of the device or factory reset it to get back to the original factory settings.
What it means: A cyan spotlight on a blue ring means that Alexa is listening. The light ring glimmers briefly when Alexa has heard and is processing your request. A briefly glimmering blue light might also mean the device is receiving a software update.Why is my Alexa yellow? ›
A flashing yellow light on your Echo device means that you have a notification or a message from an Alexa contact. If you see a flashing yellow light on your Echo device, try the following steps: Say, "What notifications do I have?"What is a false wake Alexa? ›
Alexa has been known to record people and rooms even when there's no wake word spoken intentionally — or spoken at all. It happens so often, in fact, that Amazon has its own term for the privacy-invading habit: "false wakes."How do you get Alexa to rap? ›
It also has a rap ready — just say, "Alexa, rap for me." But when you ask it to beatbox, you'll get, "Boots and cats, boots and cats.How do you make Alexa rap? ›
It also has a rap ready — just say, "Alexa, rap for me." But when you ask it to beatbox, you'll get, "Boots and cats, boots and cats.Can you change Alexa's name? ›
Select Devices . Select Echo & Alexa. Select your device. Select Edit Name.Can you change Alexa's voice? ›
You can set the voice you hear when Alexa answers you. To change Alexa's voice, say "change your voice" or use the Alexa app to switch between different voice options.What happens if you say Alexa intruder alert? ›
Nothing. At least, there's no built-in skill called “Intruder Alert” that Alexa will recognize right out of the box. If you say that phrase to Alexa, the voice assistant will have no idea what to do — your time is better spent calling 911 if you actually think there's a burglar in your home.What should you not say Alexa? ›
- 3 / 10. Juan Ci/Shutterstock. Don't Ask Alexa How Old She Is. Alexa's going to have her way with you if you ask her a personal question such as how old she is! ...
- 4 / 10. via amazon.com. Don't Ask Alexa What Various Animals Sound Like. ...
- 5 / 10. via amazon.com. Don't Ask Alexa if She Can Beatbox.
Super Alexa is an Easter egg for long-time gamers. The trigger phrase is the Konami Code, also known as the Contra Code. It was first used in Konami's 1986 game Gradius for the NES, but it's better known from Contra, a platformer released in 1987. Entering the code on Contra's title screen gave players 30 lives.
Amazon have added a new wake word for their devices in tribute to David Bowie – “Ziggy”. “Ziggy” is the fifth wake word option for Echo devices in addition to “Alexa”, “Amazon”, “Computer” and “Echo”.Can I rename Alexa to Jarvis? ›
Say, “Alexa, introduce me to Jarvis.” If you haven't purchased the voice pack, proceed with the purchase. Choose whether you want explicit content or not. Alexa should confirm the voice change.How do you get Alexa to talk like Yoda? ›
- ”Alexa, start yoda speak”
- ”Alexa, open yoda speak”
- ”Alexa, run yoda speak”
Alexa will switch over to the celeb voice you've selected and explain the things you can do with it. If you want to purchase the voice, you will be asked to confirm the charge to your Amazon account. Once enabled, you can say “hey [celeb name]” to wake the Echo device.Who is better Alexa or Siri? ›
Features and functionalities of both these platforms are on par. But due to its universality in connecting with multiple devices seamlessly, Alexa wins over Siri, a premium a sophisticated system.