Since its introduction in 2014, Amazon’s Alexa has become an indispensable part of millions of homes throughout the world. This cool little device allows us to talk to it, giving it a set of instructions like turning on music or telling us the weather. With Alexa, you’re turning your house from ordinary to a smart home that allows you to have almost endless possibilities. To use Alexa, you need to own an Amazon Echo Dot, Echo Plus, or an Echo Show.
Now we know that Alexa allows us to do a whole bunch of cool stuff, but what about the things we didn’t know Alexa was capable of? That’s where we step in. Here are 20 surprising things that you didn’t realize Amazon’s Alexa could do.
1. Call Someone
If your hands are full, or you can’t locate your phone, Alexa is there to help. Just ask Alexa to call up whoever you need by their contact name in your phone. It is as simple as asking “Alexa, call Mom’s mobile.”
2. Find Recipes
You have a fantastic dinner idea in your head but no cookbook around to help you out. Alexa is there to look up a recipe you need and become your assistant chef. All you need to do is ask Alexa to look up whatever is on your mind, like a quick dinner recipe or holiday party ideas.
3. Play Audio Everywhere
Obviously, Alexa can play music in the room you’re in, but let’s say you have an Echo device in every room of your house. With that, Alexa can play music in multiple rooms throughout your home at the same time.
4. Remind You
We all forget things, it happens, but Alexa can help you with that. With your Alexa, you can ask it to set proactive reminders for upcoming events or tasks that you need to complete. When the time comes, Alexa will notify you.
5. Help You Shop
If you love shopping on Amazon, Alexa is there to make your shopping needs even more accessible. You can ask Alexa to review your shopping history, give recommendations on popular items, or order those heavy bags of dog food that are a pain to bring home from the store.
6. Keep You Up-To-Date On Sports
We only have so much time to keep up with our favorite sports and teams. Fortunately, Alexa can give us scores to our favorite games and tell us the next time our favorite team is playing. Next time your game is on just ask Alexa, “Alexa, what were the baseball scores last night?”
7. Wake you Up
Having an annoying and loud alarm clock is no way to start your morning off. Instead, we can ask Alexa to wake us up with some of our favorite music, artist, or radio stations. Next time you’re getting ready for bed, make sure to ask Alexa, “wake me up at 6:30 a.m. to KIIS FM.”
8. Manage Lists
Being productive is something we all inspire to be, and with Alexa at your side, you can be. Alexa can help you stay on task and be on top of things by creating whatever type of list you need. You can ask her to add stuff to your to-do list or create a shopping list. Whatever list you need to be built; Alexa can help you with it.
9. Help You Learn New Skills
We all love learning something new, and there are a ton of skills you can ask for help on. With Alexa, you can explore all types of skills that can help make your life easier. Ask Alexa some things like “let’s play a game, teach me something, or help me sleep.”
10. Find Your Phone
It happens to us all, we set our phone down and then the next minute it has been sucked in the black void and is nowhere to be found. Next time your phone is missing, ask “Alexa, open Where’s my phone,” and she will call it for you. This allows you to follow the sounds and hopefully find your lost phone.
11. Talk to Your Cats
This is the coolest thing Alexa can do. It is always hard leaving your beloved cats at home, but Alexa can make it a tiny bit easier. Set the Meow! Skill on your device and all you need to do is ask Alexa to meow, and she will start chatting it up with your furry buddy.
12. Order You An Uber Or Lyft
Believe it or not, Alexa can help you order a car. Link your Alexa to your Uber or Lyft account and then ask her to request you an Uber or Lyft. This is perfect for people who are running late, or too busy getting ready to stop for a moment and use their phone.
13. Tell You A Bedtime Story
Parents are busy, and sometimes we don’t have the extra moment to tuck the kids into bed and read them a story, but Alexa does. The next time you are short on time, and your kid wants a story, ask Alexa to help you out. Enable the Short Bedtime Story feature on your device, and then you can ask Alexa to read your child their favorite story.
14. Play Jeopardy!
You and Alexa can sit down and play a fun game of Jeopardy! together. All you need to do is ask Alexa to play with you, and she will start asking your questions. Questions will include the areas of sports, pop culture, travel, and world history. If you’re really into the game and you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can get a free subscription to Double Jeopardy! which allows you to have six extra clues every week.
15. Plan a Vacation
If you love traveling, then Alexa has your back. To make this feature work you first need to set up an account with the travel site KAYAK and enable it on your device. After that you can ask Alexa travel questions by saying “Alexa, ask KAYAK (enter travel question)” and she can help find you deals on flights, book hotels, or give your information about rental cars. Some common questions you can ask are “Alexa, ask KAYAK where I can go for 800 dollars or Alexa, ask KAYAK how much it costs to rent a car in Boston.”
16. Change Alexa’s Name To Something Other Than Alexa
Maybe you don’t want to call your Alexa, “Alexa.” You are given the option to change the name in which you call your Echo device. There is a short list, but it includes Echo, Amazon, or Computer as well. To change the name, you need to have the Alexa smartphone app where you can then hit the Settings and change it.
17. Protect your Purchases With A PIN
Sometimes our kids are too smart for their own good. Instead of having Timmy but 1,000 gummy bears, have Alexa protect you. With Alexa, you can set a pin code that will need to be used every time a purchased is made. The code must be spoken, so make sure to say it somewhere privately.
To set up the shopping confirmation code, launch the Alexa app on your phone and go to menu > Settings. From there, choose Voice Purchasing and set your four-digit pin code from there.
18. Feed the Dog
Another super cool trick Alexa can do with our pets is connecting to a Furbo or Petnet. This will allow Alexa to dish out treats while we are running errands or stuck in traffic. You can even enable The Dog Feeder skill, and Alexa can help you monitor the last time you fed Fido.
19. Order Dinner
Similar to getting you a car, Alexa can also order you dinner. Connect your Alexa to your GrubHub, Amazon Restaurants, Dominos, and Pizza Hut account where you can ask for your food to be ordered. If wine is your thing, you can also add in MySomm, which will turn Alexa into your personal wine sommelier and will give you wine recommendations on the food you ordered. All you need to do is ask Alexa, “Alexa, ask Wine Gal to recommend a wine for pasta,” and Alexa will give you a tremendous tasty list.
20. Help You Stay in Shape
If you are looking to exercise more but need a little help on fitness, you can ask Alexa for help. With Alexa, she can command you to do exercises, and she has over 30 fitness-related skills. Some include a 5-minute plank exercise and a core and cardio option. Next time you want to break a sweat, ask Alexa, “Alexa, start a five-minute plank,” and your exercise partner will be by your side.
You can also enable the 7-minute-workout skill. Just say, Alexa, start 7-minute workout.“
21. Get A Weather Forecast and Alerts
The Big Sky skill can give you hour-by-hour forecasts according to your street address for hyper local level accuracy. You can also set up custom weather alerts based on hot or cold weather, windy weather or rainy weather. Examples of the Big Sky still include:
…will it rain in the next three hours?
…what will the wind speed be in the next three hours?
…what’s the low temperature in the next seven days?
…what’s the weather on Friday?”
22. Connect Alexa With Your Fitbit
Do you have a Fitbit? Ask Alexa how many steps you’ve taken, how well you slept last night and check your other stats by connecting your Fitbit.
23. Get Updates On Your Favorite Teams
In the Alexa app, just go to the Sports Update section from the Settings and add your favorite teams. After you’re set up, just say, “Alexa, give me my sports update.”
24. Get A Daily Dose of History
Love the History Channel? Just say, “Alexa, launch This Day in History” and you’ll hear a summary of the historic events on today’s date. You can also say, “Alexa, what happened on (say a date).”
25. Use Alexa As A White Noise Machine
Alexa-enabled devices can play a variety of relaxing ambient sounds at bedtime or whenever. You can say,
…open Bird sounds
…open Thunderstorm sounds
…open Ocean sounds
…start white noise
…open rain sounds.”
Here are more things to try with Alexa:
“Alexa, speak faster” — You increase how fast Alexa speaks to you. By saying, “Alexa, reset the speaking speed.” you can set it back to the default speed.
“Alexa, what are my emails?” — Use the Alexa app to integrate your email and calendar. From the menu icon, select your email provider and log into your account. Alexa works with Gmail, Outlook.com, Hotmail and Live.com. Once you add your account, you can try these commands:
“Alexa, check my email.” and Alexa will summarize your emails from the last 24 hours.
“Alexa, (read/delete/archive/reply to) this message”
“Alexa, did I get an email from Jim?”
“Alexa, what are your deals?” – Ask this and you’ll hear a number of Amazon Prime member exclusive deals. Better yet, these deals are only available if you are using your Alexa-enabled device to order. Check out the Amazon voice shopping page to learn other ways to use Alexa to shop.
Having Alexa in your house will make not only your life a lot simpler but also a lot more fun. With Alexa, you can play games easy and learn a ton of new skills just by asking a simple question. Plus, the more Echos you have around your house, the more options you have when using Alexa. What is your favorite thing to ask Alexa to do for you?