Alexa, Alexa, how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
Ever since Amazon came out with the Echo, people everywhere have been astounded by their new voice activated assistant.
The news is out: Siri ain’t got nothing on Alexa.
With new “Skills” being added each week, Alexa keeps getting better and better.
But where do you start?
Which of these skills are the most insane? The most useful? The funniest?
Not all Skills are created equal, so we put together this list of the best of the best.
The are the 27 Amazon Echo Hacks You NEED to Know About.
- Help Alexa recognize your voice in a better way
The engineers that designed Echo installed it with seven very sensitive microphones which are always listening for the world Alexa throughout your conversations.
Does this sound creepy?
However, you will come to appreciate it once you understand what Echo can do for you.
If you really want to get the most out of Alexa, then you need to teach her how to understand and recognize your voice.
To improve her abilities of speech recognition, download for free the Alexa App for Android and iOS.
Once it has been installed on your phone go to Menu > Settings > Voice Training. It will take you some time but all you will need is to read aloud 25 phrases, but you have the freedom of pausing whenever you feel tired.
- Just a reminder, Echo can make recordings which can be relayed to the app
So, if you have some visitors in your house or a friend working from home and they use your Echo, you can listen to their request as long as you have the app that controls your Echo in your phone.
Does this sound like spying?
If it freaks out your friends, it is good that you warn them that Echo is always listening.
Otherwise, you can turn the mute button which switches off the microphone
- Don’t forget! The recordings can be deleted from the app
If you feel that you don’t have to switch off the microphone of Alexa, there is no need to panic.
Your friends can still use the app and maintain their privacy too.
I know not many of us who like listening to what others are saying. To delete the recordings from your app:
- Open the Alexa application (once open, you should see your history)
- Select the request card you would like to delete
- Click more > remove card just like I have illustrated above.
If for one or several reasons you want to get rid of all of your voice recording history follow these steps
- Tap on Manage your content and devices
- Select your devices
- Select Echo
- Manage voice recordings
- Then delete
That was quite easy, wasn’t it?
Now that we have learned the basics, it is time to delve deeper into what Alexa can do.
- Let’s begin with the most useful commands
Science has proven that we human beings are repetitive animals. Am I right? Well maybe yes maybe not. But the sure thing is, there are those commands you will be barking at Alexa most frequently. These commands can be used anywhere and anytime.
If you want to turn its volume up or down
“Alexa, volume 3” (you can choose from 0 to 10)
“Amazon, turn it up” or “Alexa, Louder.”
“Alexa, turn it down” or “Alexa softer.”
- If you are listening music try out these commands
“Alexa, resume” or “Alexa stop.”
“Alexa, next song “or “Alexa, restart.”
To be even more specific, you can try
“Alexa, play some RnB by Whitney Houston.”
“Alexa set the sleep timer for 20 minutes.”
- She is an amazing cooking assistant
Looking to up your home-cooking skills?
Well you’re in luck!Alexa is an amazing hands-free cooking assistant.
Personally, she has been a great assistant in my kitchen. Ever since I got her, I have loved cooking even more and also got the chance to try out new recipes.
If you find yourself covered in grease of flour, try telling Alexa to set the timer for 12 minutes. You can even ask her how many minutes are left on the timer.
It is also a very convenient and accurate converter.
Try asking “Alexa, how many cups are in Pint?” and you’ll see what I mean. So much better than Googling and having to wash your hands again!
Additionally, you can even ask her to add let’s say flour on your shopping list. It all depends on what you want her to help you with while cooking. Even if you are not a professional chef, you might have already begun the first steps towards that direction.
- She can frequently read you news briefings whenever you want them
I understand that the world is moving fast and we all need to stay updated! That’s where Alexa comes in. On your request; she can read you news briefings over breakfast, lunch or even in the evenings. But first, you need to customize her on what news you will need. If you are a sports fanatic, let her know that is what you would like. If you love politics, just tell her, and that is what she will do. But, how do you customize her? Well..
- Go to the news settings
- Under account, tap flash briefings
From this, you will see all types of hourly news briefings from NPR to sports and politics. If you like hearing the news as they happen, Echo also comes with a Buzz Feed News Flash Briefing in the app. With this, you will receive breaking news directly on your phone as they happen. Nonetheless, you should bear in mind that not all sources will have audio programs
- A powerful to-do list manager
Have you been suffering to keep track of what you should be doing? Alexa could be the answer!
She will help you keep track of your tasks and even assist you in updating them directly.
For instance, a command like “Add “tampons” to my shopping list,” will directly add them to your list.
You don’t need to touch your phone. Just say it.
You can even ask her to remind you what is on your shopping list.
For example, make a shopping list and ask her “Alexa, what is on my shopping list?”
Bonus Hack: Sync Alexa with your Google calendar
So you have been so busy to keep up with what you should be doing on a particular day. We people are also very prone to forgetting, but Alexa does not forget. Turn her to a personal assistant, and she will faithfully serve you.
- Open the Alexa app
- Tap on settings (under account)
- Select calendar and then link it to your Google account
Once synched, you can ask her questions like “Alexa, what’s on my calendar this weekend?” “Alexa, what should I be doing this weekend?”
- User her to update you about traffic on your daily commute
After entering your most commonly used route to and from work, you can ask Alexa about the condition of the traffic. All you have to do is
- Open the Alexa app
- Select settings
- Under account tap traffic
- The add your home address
You will never be late for work again.
Pro-tip: Use her to get information about restaurants or local businesses in your locale
Alexa can use Yelp to identify hotels and shops near you. You just need to ensure that the location settings on your application are right.
Once you have entered your device location, go ahead and enter your address.
After adding all this information you can ask her questions like “Alexa, what pizza restaurants are nearby?”
After she has given you an answer, you can then ask her “How far is the restaurant?” “Alexa, what is their phone number?” “Have they currently opened?”
- The version of the Alexa app is available online
If you don’t have your Smartphone with you, you can still access a version of the app online.
So if you’ve forgotten your phone, you still control Alexa from a web browser. Mischief managed.
- You don’t need to spend a lot of money in making your home smart with Echo
Many people out there think that you will have to spend all of your saving in making your home friendly to Alexa.
The truth is, this is a lie. You can experience smartness in your home for less than $50. Really? Yes, all you need is a Wemo Switch Plug going for $40.
Almost all electric devices can be plugged into these plugs. Talk of your electric blanket, fans, curling irons, you just name it. Smart home devices can also be grouped to respond to Alexa together.
For instance, once you instruct Alexa to turn on the Living room lights, the speaker system will also be turned on.
Of course, there are other more expensive devices that are compatible with Alexa.
However, my point is, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars trying to live in the future. 50 will just be enough.
- Control your Spotify account with your computer or phone through Echo
All you need to do is to connect your Spotify account with the Alexa Application. It’s that easy!
- Open the Alexa App
- Select menu
- Then Music and books
After a successful connection, you will be able to ask Alex questions such as
“Alexa, please play Reggae on Spotify.”
“Alexa, play Spotify to resume where you lastly left.”
One of the best features with this capability is its capacity to control my echo through my Spotify accounts on both my computer and my phone.
Does this sound impressive to you? Well, It is about to get even better once you start using Echo
- Make her your default music player
Do you love listening music? Echo is just about to make the experience even better.
Making it your default music player will help Echo pull all the music from your libraries. Very few music players achieve this.
To make it your default music player:
- Open the Alex app
- Go to menu then settings
- Under account, tap Music and Media
- The scroll down and select customize my music preferences
- Choose Default music services
- Click Spotify
If this option is not available on the app, use the desktop version on your browser. You will find it there.
- Play music from different Spotify accounts via Amazon Household
We all have friends or roommates who would like to listen to music through their Spotify account. You shouldn’t deny them the chance or let them suffer. Music plays a major role in all of our lives. Just add a Spotify account on your Alexa APP.
- Open the Alexa app
- Tap on settings
- Under the account option, tap Household Profile
- Then add
You friend will now have to enter their Amazon password and username. After completing this setup, you can listen to a different Discover Weekly. For instance, you just have to ask “Alexa, which account is this one?” or say “Alexa, please switch accounts.”
- Use it as a Bluetooth Speaker
Those who own Bluetooth speakers know too well that sometimes it can be hard to pair them. But that does not apply to Echo. You just need to put your device on Bluetooth pairing mode then say “Alexa pair.” When you no longer need the connection, just say “Alexa disconnect.”
- Some skills are amazing while others are not
Just like applications, skills on Alexa can be awesome or not. It comes equipped with several of these skills which you can enable and disable at will. Some of them come from third party companies such as Lyft, Uber, Fitbit, Dominos pizza and several others. Many of these can be interesting while other are not. It all depends on your needs and preferences.
Thye skills need a trigger to start them up. For instance, if you want to open Uber, you just have to say “Alexa, open Uber.”
- You can add several features through IFTTT
If you don’t know what IFTT is, it is a website that can connect different software and gadgets together. The good news is, it has dedicated an entire channel to Amazon Alexa.
Via this connection, your Echo can be linked to several other things such as Evernote, your phone etc. IFTT enables you to integrate Echo to every aspect of your digital life.
However, like I said before, beware that the efficiency and effectiveness of the skills do vary.
- Enjoy several games
If you have Echo, it is an opening of another era of entertainment. Its games are incredibly entertaining.
If you have kids, the animal game will really keep them entertained.
She comes with several games you can choose from. Personally, I love the animal game where Alexa asks several questions then guesses the name of the animal I am thinking about. To open games just say “Alexa, start animal game.”
- How do you reset if it starts misbehaving?
Unplug the device first then plug it again. I know you are not foolish. This is exactly what Amazon recommends.
If it doesn’t work out for you, it is time to reset her to factory settings.
This is pretty simple too.
At the bottom of Echo, there exists a small rest button. Press it for five seconds, and you will notice it change from blue to arrange then enters the rest mode. After resetting is complete, it is going to indicate that you have successfully done it.
- Buy anything from Amazon Prime
Alexa has just changed the way we used to buy things. What do I specifically mean? Pal, you can now order millions of products directly from Amazon by just asking for them.
As long as the product is classified among Amazon Prime, you can order it by just asking Alexa to do it for you.
The best thing is, you can even order for an Uber ride, Dominos pizza Lyft, and many other products from 3rd party suppliers.
- Track your orders and Amazon packages
If you have decided to order something from Amazon Via Alexa, you can also track it via Echo.
This can be done by simply asking, “Alexa, track my order” or even “Alexa, where is my package.”
Though the information given by Alexa is not that accurate, she captures the most important things such as the location and date of arrival. We are all waiting for an update that will enable Alexa even to determine which carrier was assigned the package.
I really can’t wait to see her take over my life. All we can do is stand and wait for that update.
- She can repeat what she just said
Our ears are not as sharp as those of our pets around us.
For this reason, Alexa comes equipped with a feature that helps her repeat statements that were not clear to us. If you want her to repeat what she has just said, just tell her “Alexa, can you repeat what you have just said?”
She has the capability to repeat what she had said as many times as you would like her to repeat. If you don’t want her to repeat, you can retrieve audio recordings from your mobile app.
- Get a voice remote
At times, you might decide to mount Alexa somewhere on a wall where she can’t be moved. In this case, consider buying a remote.
It only goes for $30 and will work for both Echo Dot and Amazon Echo.
After getting the remote, be sure to pair it with the Alexa app, and you can now control Echo even when you are outside. However, note that it only connects via Bluetooth so the range can be limited to just a few meters.
- Brew a cup of coffee
If you are considering saving some time by avoiding paying a visit to Starbucks, Alexa can make coffee for you.
The cool thing about this feature is, the Behmor Connected Brewer can even integrate directly with Amazon to order coffee for you once the levels start getting slow.
25. Change the wake word
Sometimes you could have someone within your household by the name Alexa or maybe you are tired of commercials waking your Alexa.
If this is the case, you have the freedom to change the wake word. The only problems is, you can only choose from what is provided by Amazon. These names include, Alexa, Amazon, Computer or Echo.
26. Solve quick conversions and math problems
Calculations can be challenging to many of. Nonetheless, if you have Alexa, she will always be there to help you out with a huge variety of calculations.
This becomes very handy for instance when you are cooking or when you want to make quick mathematical conversions such as currencies and measurements.
For instance, you can try this: “Alexa, 10 dollars to pounds”
- Mount her on the wall
This is more of a unique design choice than a feature. However, if you are not finding a central place to put your Alexa, you should consider hanging her on a wall.
When the speakers and the microphone are mounted on the wall, it will be easier for Alexa to avoid obstructions which translates to better results.
If you are through with reading this article, congratulations because you are just one step ahead of mastering the art of Echo. I wish you all the best and hope that you will soon be A GURU.