Alexa Skills You Should Try on Your Amazon Echo
Using Alexa Skills with the Amazon Echo
The Amazon Echo is a smart device with a built-in interface called Alexa that responds to your voice saying her name. The Alexa interface can already do a number of tasks right out of the box. It can stream music from Amazon or Spotify, control smart bulbs or other smart plugs, or order tons of products off of Amazon. Because of these capabilities, the Echo has become one of the most popular smart home devices on the market. What has made Alexa even more popular, though, is the ability to use the Smart Home Skill API. This gives you the opportunity to use third-party apps with the Alexa system, enhancing the productivity and entertainment value of the device. With over 10,000 skills available, it can be hard to find the right ones for you. Review some of the must-have skills to use with the Echo below for a great place to start.
Must-Have Alexa Skills
Some of the most popular skills are the ones that help you be more productive around the house and the ones that provide extra entertainment for you and your family.
One popular skill for productivity is the Mastermind program that allows you to send and receive text messages, start phone calls, and provide you caller ID information for incoming calls. You can also connect your Android device, PC and Chromecast to the app, which allows you to open and close apps on these devices. Another useful skill is the Find My Phone skill using the Trackr app on your phone. Set up the Trackr app on your device, and you will be able to ask Alexa where your phone is, allowing her to turn your ringer on even if your phone is on silent.
Music and Sounds
The Ambient Sounds: Thunderstorms skill helps you block unwanted noise while you are sleeping. The skill gives Alexa the ability to play a loop of ambient sounds to relax you and block out noise. You can either have the sounds stop after an hour, or have the sounds on a continuous loop until you stop it. Another relaxing Alexa skill is the Sleep and Relaxation Sounds that helps your sleep better and work more productively. With 50 sounds to choose from, you can pick the right one to match your activity, whether its sleeping, working or studying.
Novelty and Humor Skills
If you want Alexa to tell your child a bedtime story, the Short Bedtime Story skill has a variety of stories that are personalized to your child's name. Using the website associated with the skill, you can author your own stories or take stories out of rotation. If you or your friends are Star Trek friends, check out the Star Trek - Auto Destruct Sequence skill. This allows you to play a realistic sounding 10 second countdown to a ship explosion using Star Trek sound effects.
Jeopardy is a fun game to test your own knowledge or compete against friends and family. New clues are released every weekday, with bonus clues for Prime members. Just say, "Alexa, open Jeopardy!" to get started. For a silly, family game, try out Would You Rather For Family, a skill that gives you two funny situations that you have to choose between. With hundreds of questions, this game is sure to keep your family entertained for hours. Deal or No Deal is a popular television game show where cases reveal money amounts and the banker tries to get you to take a deal. Have Alexa play the banker in your own home in this version of the game.