Amazon's virtual assistant comes loaded with a variety of features. But it's Alexa's skills that really allow you to customize your experience to your liking. These skills are programs that, when enabled, provide additional functionality. There are currently hundreds of skills available on the Amazon site, and more are added every day. Some of these skills are specifically designed to interact with Alexa-compatible products, that is, thermostats, lights, remote controls, while others take an independent approach to control them using your voice. Here are some of the most useful ones, such as those that help you find your phone or remind you of a recipe for a cocktail. Of course, it is not a definitive list, we will expand it over the weeks.
It is a great kitchen helper
Alexa comes preloaded with the ability to add items to a master shopping list, but skills like My Chef go one step further. It is combined with the Chefling application and allows you to track and read recipes, send shopping lists and keep track of product expiration dates. They even remind you what you have in your pantry while you go shopping. If you prepare many meals at home and tend to have a bad memory when you go shopping, My Chef will save you frustrations. There are also many other and very good cooking skills that you will discover.
You can plan your Instant Pot
Do you have an Instant Pot? Alexa can get you very good Instant Pot recipes for you to try. All you have to do is activate this ability. What makes this really useful is that it brings many different ways to filter the recipes. So you select them by the type of cuisine, dietary preferences, difficulty level or even the ingredients (so you can finally eliminate almost expired food from your refrigerator). You can quickly have dinner on your table and you can easily find new recipes to try, which in the long run can become a real addition.
It can help you eat healthier
Are you tracking your calories? Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain weight or simply maintain a healthy appearance, controlling calorie intake can be critical. Do it easily with an Alexa skill. With this Track by Nutritionix, you can say things like "Alexa, tell the food tracker to record a glass of milk," or "Alexa, ask the food tracker for my heat report." Instead of counting your calories in a laptop that you can easily lose or forget, you can now register your calories while you are preparing a meal just by saying so. Easy and fast.
You can find your phone
It is easy to lose your phone or forget it in the depths of the sofa. If someone else is at home, it is likely that your first idea is to ask that person to call you. With the Where’s My Phone ability, Alexa can do that for you, so you won't have to wait for your partner or partner to come home.
He can call you an Uber or Lyft
If you are a public transport user, it is likely that when you fall behind you are one of those who try to call a taxi with one hand while dressing with the other. Once you establish this ability in Alexa, the application only needs to know the location of your Echo, and you can already scream desperately while you take a shower and think about what excuse you will give your boss this time. This is precisely the kind of thing for which voice activation systems were made.
Uber on AmazonLyft on Amazon
It can keep you updated on your sports teams
Although it is a default skill, you might not know that you can enter your settings through Alexa and customize your sports news. You can add your favorite professional or university teams, and get updates on match schedules, results and positions.
Can you read a brief story to sleep
This is ideal for any parent who gets tired of reading their children the same stories before bedtime. You may not like the idea of a robot reading to your son or daughter, but we are sure they love it. The application also allows you to customize the story, to include the name of your tweet. Each of the stories lasts less than a minute (and Alexa's monotonous reading voice is not a substitute for yours), but it is worth enabling, if you ever need to rest for one night.
It can read you personalized news reports
We are not referring to a specific skill, but to the ability to customize the news you receive every day. By default, when you ask Alexa for ‘brief information’, you’ll be shown the main news from some handpicked sources. But you can enable everything from The Wall Street Journal to an (unofficial) application of Reddit, if you wish. The configuration page in the complementary Alexa application will allow you to add or delete sources until you have an instant information session adapted to your liking.
Can play your music
Do you want to listen to music, but you don't have speakers in your house? Your Alexa-enabled device works like a music player, and once you register the device in your Amazon account, you can play music from your Amazon Music library. Prefer to listen to music from a service like Spotify? You can also do that and even use the Spotify application on your smart phone as a remote control. How to listen to soft and relaxing music while you sleep? You can ask Alexa to stop playing music after a certain time, so it will stop once you're in Morpheus' arms.
You can make a reservation with OpenTable
Set up a profile and then make a reservation for dinner at your favorite place while keeping your eyes fixed on your video games. Like the mobile application of the same name, this ability will allow you to make, modify and cancel reservations, and now you can also do it through your Echo Show. You can use your voice or touch the touch screen of the last Alexa-enabled smart home assistant to request a table. If you cannot find or help you in what you ask, provide you with a list of alternative options. Unfortunately, this capability is not as robust as the application itself.
You can learn to prepare 12,000 cocktails and tell you what wine to drink
The “The Bartender” ability gives you access to more than 12,000 cocktail recipes. If you are watching TV and see someone ask for an unknown cctel, or if you simply do not know what is in your favorite beverage, the application will recite the ingredients for your knowledge. You can also apply reverse engineering to a mixture by telling The Bartender what you have on hand to make a drink and, of course: I will tell you what you can prepare.
"MySomm" also lets you know what kind of wines combine best with what you are having dinner. If you have a well-stocked wine cellar, you will use this function constantly. It is worth noting that "MySomm" asks you that, when activated, you refer to it as "Wine Gal". The one with the idea had probably been testing some wines
The Bartender on AmazonMySomm on Amazon
You can call your friend in case of emergency
Ask My Buddy is a useful skill for anyone who is in a situation where they need help and cannot access their phone at that precise moment. You can call or send text messages to a specific contact (or all scheduled contacts) quickly and easily in case of an emergency. That's right, don't call 911 or other emergency services for you.
I can let you hear ‘The Tonight Show’
Even if you don't watch the program religiously, this application is great for listening to the program's opening monologue and some other fragments. If you're a Jimmy Fallon fan, it's a nice and light thing to listen to while brushing your teeth or cleaning the house.
It can help you travel by the New York subway
There are a variety of skills for public transportation centers similar to ‘NYC Subway’. These will allow Alexa to consider delays in specific lines, so you know how much time you will need to reach your destination.
It allows you to play different games
Do you have a geography fan at home? There are many Alexa skills that offer fun quizzes. If you like traditional trivia, set the skill Jeopardy and enjoy a night of fun games. Of course, there are many other question and answer game options offered by Alexa for almost any topic and age group you might want. Also, don't forget the Echo Buttons that can add a new dimension to your game night by acting as buzzers and other gaming devices.
You can kill boredom with magical questions
The Magic Door, one of Alexa's best-rated skills, is an excellent idea for when you're bored and want something that helps you kill time. It is an interactive adventure that allows you to explore a magical land where you encounter a variety of creatures such as rabbits, gnomes, magicians, fortune tellers, etc. You can help them all with their missions and, in the process, draw a complete map of a world that is beyond the door of your house. Time fly by!
You can ask for specific details about the weather
Alexa gives you local forecasts by default, but this skill called Weather Sky provides incredibly detailed breakdowns. If you want to know the time of sunrise and sunset, for example, or how the weather was exactly one year ago, this application can do it for you.
I guide you through your training
Gym memberships and personal trainers are not cheap, but luckily it is not necessary to spend a lot of money to be in good shape. Your Alexa voice assistant can tell you a workout for you, and it is totally free. Let Alexa go through your abs, pushups and bicep work. That's right, don't be surprised when you can't even move to the next morning.
You can order a pizza at Dominos and Pizza Hut
Although there are more applications for food every day, they will never be as easy to execute as ordering food without stopping what you are doing. Both skills require you to set up a customer profile, but once you do, Alexa can sort your favorite pizzas with a simple voice command.
Domino’s on Amazon Pizza Hut on Amazon
Help you use your XBOX
Since the disappearance of Xbox Kinect, you may need the possibility of using voice commands on your Xbox. Luckily, there is now a skill for that. The ability of Xbox Alexa allows you to turn on your console and start games using only your voice.
Have help with your children's homework
If you're baffled by your children's homework, or they need help when you're not around, Alexa is your best ally. She can help your children practice for an exam, with spelling and more. Something like a helper of directed tasks that is never more.
* Updated by Mara Teresa Lopes on July 16, 2019.