10 ways Alexa can make your life easier
From ordering pizza to calling an Uber, Alexa can do it all.
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Amazon’s Alexa can give you the forecast, read the latest headlines, and remind you of your to-do list, but there are probably a few things you didn’t realize she could do.
If you don’t already have an Echo speaker or display, you’re going to need one, like our favorite echo speaker, the Echo (third-generation). To enable many of the below skills, you will also need the Amazon Alexa app, which is available for download on iOS and Android devices.
From helping you order a pizza to calling a ride, there are so many Alexa skills available to use on your Echo speaker. Here are 10 things you didn’t realize Alexa can do.
1. Find your phone
At some point, we all misplace our phone in the house, but you don’t need a physical tracker attached to your phone to locate it. Alexa can help you track it down with the Find My Phone skill. Before you can begin using the handy skill, you will need to sync your cell phone with the skill in the Amazon Alexa app.
After that’s done, you can say things like, "Alexa, find my phone," and she will call your phone. Just make sure you leave your phone set to loud—or vibrate at the very least so you can hear it buzz. This skill supports multiple phone numbers. To add another, say, "Alexa, ask Find My Phone to add another number."
2. Call an Uber
Normally you'd just open up the Uber app on your smartphone to call a ride, but there's no need to since Alexa can do it for you. When you use the Uber skill, you can say things like "Alexa, ask Uber to request a ride" or "Alexa, ask Uber to call me an Uber X from work." Want to upgrade your ride? She can take care of that, too, when you say, "Alexa, ask Uber to order an Uber Black."
3. Order a pizza
Low on food or need a quick meal for the family? Alexa can order a pizza and have it delivered right to your front door when you enable the Domino's skill. Before you can order, however, you will need to link your Domino’s account information in the Amazon Alexa app.
To begin, say, "Alexa, open Domino's," and she will help you place your order. You can also use Alexa to track the progress of your pizza, so you know when it's on the way.
4. Help you fall asleep
After asking your Echo speaker questions all day long, you might not think of the device as a way to help you fall asleep. But, after a long day, Alexa can help you catch some Zs by playing soothing tones with the help of the Sleep and Relaxation Sounds skill. When you're ready to lay down, say, "Alexa, open Sleep Sounds."
There are over 125 sounds to choose from, including ocean, rain, fireplace, car ride, airplane, city sounds, white noise, and more. The skill will continue playing sounds until you say, "Alexa, stop." If you'd like the sounds to play for a certain length of time, say, "Alexa, set a sleep timer for [amount of time]."
5. Make sure the kids brush their teeth
My daughter doesn’t like to spend time in the bathroom brushing her teeth, but the Chompers skill is helping make the necessary daily task more enjoyable for her. The skill, which is recommended for children ages 3 to 7, plays jokes, riddles, stories, fun facts, and other interesting tidbits that will keep your child occupied while brushing for 120 seconds. (The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day.)
6. Call a friend
Sure, you could use your wireless headphones to make hands-free calls, but your Echo speaker makes a great way to chat with friends and family, too. However, before you can place a call, you must verify your phone number and sync your contacts in the Amazon Alexa app. To make a call, say, "Alexa, call [contact's name]." To end the call, say, "Alexa, hang up."
7. Check the traffic
Morning commutes can be unpredictable sometimes, so before you head out the door, check with Alexa to find out how long it will take you to get from Point A to Point B.
In the Amazon Alexa app, navigate to Settings > Alexa Preferences > Traffic. This is where you can put in your home address (or whichever starting point you want to use) followed by your destination address like work. You can also add a stop to your route. Ready to find out how long it will take? Say, "Alexa, what's my commute" or "Alexa, what's the traffic like right now" and she will fill you in.
8. Learn a foreign language
Learning a new language takes time, but Alexa can help you practice at any time of the day. While you’re busy making dinner, you can brush up on your foreign language abilities or learn a new language. The SayHi skill plays conversations in the selected language—Spanish, French, German, or Danish—and then breaks them down into lessons, which gradually increase in difficulty. To begin, you can ask things like, "Alexa, ask SayHi to learn Spanish,” or, "Alexa, open SayHi."
9. Be your personal shopping buddy
You probably already know that Alexa can create shopping lists for you, but did you know she can actually do the ordering for you, too? Whether you’re buying presents or need to restock your supply of toilet paper, snacks—whatever it may be—you can ask Alexa to take care of it.
If you know exactly what you're looking for, you can go ahead and order it straight from your Echo speaker by saying, "Alexa, order [item]." She will search through your Amazon order history to find the right product and add it to your cart.
Buying something for the first time? Alexa will likely recommend products aloud that are marked "Amazon's Choice" when helping you make a purchase. Once you've found what you're looking for, say, "Alexa, checkout [item]." She will place the order for you and confirm the delivery date. Change your mind about an order? That's OK. Just tell Alexa to "cancel my order" and you'll be all set.
10. Sing you “Happy Birthday”
Throwing a birthday party? Or maybe just a small celebration? Alexa can sing to you on your special day with the Happy Birthday skill. To hear her sing say, "Alexa, open Happy Birthday.” Before she begins, she will ask you for the name of the birthday boy or girl. Make sure to light the candles and sing along with her.
These are just 10 of the Alexa skills you may not be familiar with, but with over 100,000 Alexa skills you can always find something new.
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