Beginner’s Guide to Amazon Echo

Congratulations.

You’ve landed on the single most important article we’ve ever written— The Beginner’s Guide — which offers dozens of tips that will help you start enjoying you’re new Amazon Echo device quickly, whether you’re a total newbie, or a tech-toy connoisseur.

Below you’ll find our 13 main tips to get started.

The Amazon Echo offers a first look into what’s been promised since The Jetsons – a smart home.

It’s no HAL, but it’s a start. And if you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve recently got your hands on one. Welcome to the future.

Ok, I admit.

When Amazon first came out with the Echo, I didn’t think much of it. It seemed like another Bluetooth speaker from a company looking to capture trivial market share from Jambone.

But after I got my hands on one, I started to play.

Before long, I came to love it.

And if you follow these steps to get started, I can guarantee you will love it too.

Step One: Read the Instructions

Make certain to peruse the Getting Started guide that comes in the box.

It’s are short, and gives a decent outline of Alexa’s usefulness.

Step Two: Setup your Device

The guide will instruct you to download the Alexa application from iTunes or Google Play, which is one way to do it.

But we’ve had more success setting it up in a web browser.

This link will take you to the website to set up your Echo. You can also set up additional Amazon devices from this portal.

From there, just follow the instructions. And see Amazon’s support articles if you get stuck.

Step Three: Let’s Play Some Tunes

You’ll want some background music as you continue playing around with your new toy.

You can connect your Echo to the Amazon Music Library, which is great if you have Amazon Prime.

If you’re more of a Spotify guy, there’s that option too.

Go to settings -> music and media and click to authorize Spotify. Sometimes this doesn’t work on the mobile app, so if you’re having problems try using the browser setup link above.

And if you like radio, you can always go with TuneIn Radio, which is totally free!

Step Four: Having Trouble? Call for help.

Sometimes things just don’t go your way.

Experiencing difficulty with setup and association with WiFi?

Call Amazon Alexa/Echo Tech Support at 877-375-9365. They’re around all day every day.

Step Five: Like Books? You’re in luck.

Alexa can read Kindle books to you!

The books must have text-to-speech capabilities, which is an option set by each book’s publisher.

Just say “Alexa, read me Goodnight Moon” and you’ll be a total weirdo listening to Goodnight Moon.

Step Six: Share the Love with your Family

Each family member should set up a different Alexa profile so their experience can be customized based on their preferences.

Pro-tip: You can even have another family members music library on the device.

Step Seven: Customize the News

“Alexa, play my flash briefing” or “Alexa, what’s new?” will begin your Amazon Echo news brief.

Your Echo has a default news service it uses, but you’ll want to customize that to your liking.

Under settings -> flash briefings you can pick from a scope of various news administrations. Just don’t pick Breitbart 😉

Step Eight: Sync Your Calendar

Your Amazon Echo is pretty handy at helping you keep on top of your to-do list, but it’s also able to help you manage your day-to-day activities. By connecting to your Google Calendar you can get Alexa to check what’s happening today or at a specific hour on a day in the future.

To do this simply go to settings -> calendar in the browser interface. You’ll need to authorize access, then you’r all set.

Step Eight: Get Some Skills

Alexa is quite astute and there’s a considerable number of things she can help with.  But you’ll want to step up her game by adding Skills.

Skills enable you to personalize what Alexa can do. They permit you to do all kinds of things, like calling an Uber or checking the Weather.

Go to the Alexa Skills section of Amazon to get started

Step Nine: Turn your Smart Home up to 11

Alexa is compatible with all the requisite smart home toys.

Or rather, they are compatible with Alexa.

With Alexa you can control your central heating, to your bedroom lights, to your garage door opener.

Search for the relevant smart home Skills to get started.

Step Ten: Ask Alexa Some Silly Questions

Alexa can answer a lot of genuine inquiries  and when that doesn’t work asking Alexa to “Wikipedia [person, put, thing, occasion, etc.]” normally will satisfy your curiosity.

Try these questions:

“How many feet are in a mile?”

“What time is it in California?”

“How cold is it on Mars?”

“When is Columbus Day”

Step Ten: Don’t Go on a Shopping Spree

Unless you’re Evan Spiegel, fight the temptation to go crazy with asking Alexa to buy Amazon products.

This is especially true of smart home products like the Nest.

The shopping experience might be seamless, but it adds up!

Step Eleven: Keep Exploring

Alexa has so many skills that it’s easy to get complacent with the ones you know and love best.

There is so much out there to see, and you should go explore as often as you can.

To get started, here’s a nice list of Echo tricks to try.

Itching for more cool Amazon toys? Check out our beginners guide to Amazon Dash Buttons!