The First Alexa Skills to Enable on Your New Amazon Echo
So, you bought an Amazon
The Echo currently has more than 3,000 skills , according to Amazon. But since writing a guide for all its talents would probably be longer than a Nicholas Sparks novel, here is a quick list of the best, practical skills you should start using right away.
Get your daily morning news briefing
One of my favorite
Work out with Alexa
Sometimes it's hard to go to the gym when you have such a busy schedule, but Alexa can help you fit in a quick workout in the morning. Just say, "Alexa, start 7-minute workout ," and the AI will guide you through a series of workout repetitions that will surely make you sweat. If you don't know what the workout looks like, you can just look them up on your phone and follow along.
Control your lights
This skill is one of the most basic and known, but also one of the most convenient-or maybe I'm just lazy. But if own Philips Hue Lights , you can ask Alexa to turn them on/off without having to get up from your bed or couch. It's ideal for when you're going to bed, or already sat down at your couch with the popcorn and about to watch a movie.
Change the wake word
If having "Alexa" as the wake word-the word that triggers the voice assistant-is causing to much trouble because someone in the house is named Alex or Alexis, you can change it to something less common. You can change the wake word to Amazon, Echo, or Computer . Sure, the options are limited right now, but hopefully Amazon lets us change it to whatever we want in a near future. I would love to call mine Jarvis, like Iron Man.
Find your smartphone
Are you the type of person who constantly loses their phone around the house? Well, Alexa has a neat skill to help you find it. If you sign up for a TrackR account , you can just ask, "Alexa, find my phone," and the smart speaker will make sure your smartphone rings at full volume-and guess what? It was probably under the couch cushion again.
Check airport security wait times before you leave the house
Plan better and avoid long lines the day you travel. Just say, "Alexa, ask airport security for the wait time at La Guardia (or whichever airport)," and the AI will check the TSA's public API for the last reported wait times at the airport checkpoint. If you're a last minute planner when traveling, this trick will help you a lot while your packing in a rush the morning of your flight.
Spotify as the default music streaming service
Amazon announced last year that it would add a Spotify skill to Alexa's catalog, but in order to have it work properly consumer has to say, "Alexa, play Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen On Spotify." If you didn't specify Spotify, Alexa would try and find the song on Amazon Music, which has a very limited song catalog. However, there's a way to make Spotify the default so when you ask to play a song, it'll automatically fetch the media from the select streaming service.
Open the Alexa App and under Settings go into Music & Media. Once there, just select Spotify as the default music service and save your changes.
Get exclusive deals through Alexa
If you're looking for a new way of shopping, all you have to do is ask, "Alexa, what are your deals?" and the smart speaker will recite a list of Prime-member-exclusive deals. If you have Alexa synced with your Prime membership and your payment method of choice, you can just Alexa to place an order for you.
Add a code to avoid accidental purchases
Since Alexa is very easy to trigger with language that resembles her name, you might sometimes end up accidentally making an unwanted purchase. However, there is a way to prevent an unintended purchase from Alexa by setting up a 4-digit voice shopping code through the corresponding app. To input a code go to the Alexa app's Settings and choose Voice Purchasing, then just input your code and select Save Changes.
Learn more skills
You can also discover more Alexa skills by using the Skill Finder . All you have to say is, "Alexa, tell Skill Finder to give me the skill of the day" and you will unearth new, cool skills. You can also learn about new talents by category by asking, "Alexa, tell Skill Finder to list the top skills in the games category."