Technological advancements have always been intended to make life easier. But Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, takes this to a whole new level. With her help, certain actions can be performed without the need to lift a finger. It is virtually all in the voice.
From the basic commands, such as “Alexa, let’s chat” and “Alexa, stop,” the list has grown considerably. But you still need to start with “Alexa” to queue your commands.
Alexa’s Abilities: What We Know So Far
Play music based on certain activities
Want to play music suitable for meditation, working out, or a romantic dinner? Just be specific with your command. Instead of simply saying “Alexa, play music,” say “Alexa, play music for working out.”
Amazon’s voice assistant will play back music from your Amazon Music library based on more than 500 activities.
Control Amazon Fire TV
There are more ways than one to interact with Alexa. And with the Amazon Fire software update, you can now link Alexa to your Amazon Fire TV and use the Alexa app as your remote control.
Just say Alexa, the action you want to be done, and the phrase on Fire TV.
To play a video, for example, just say “Alexa, play
on Fire TV.” Replace the word “play” with “stop” when you want to stop watching.
To search for movies or TV shows, say “Alexa, search for [TV show title] on Fire TV.
Keep your home fragrant
The Aera fragrance systems from scenting services company, Prolitec, is now compatible with Amazon Alexa. Tell Alexa to turn on Aera and you will have access to eight different fragrances. You can also tell Alexa to change the scent levels.
Control your smart home
Integrated to popular smart home platforms, you can use Alexa to turn on the lights, dim the lights, and adjust the temperature in the living room. You can also tell her to close the garage door, lock the back door, find a lost phone, and control GE appliances.
Block unwanted calls or texts
Just tap the “Block contacts” button in your contact list in the updated version of the Alexa app and any contact from certain individuals will be screened.
Set multiple timers at once
This is made possible by being able to label timers, such as pasta timer and chicken timer. You can then queue up commands and Alexa will know exactly which timer will go when with their corresponding times are up.
Make calls and send messages
These features come with the latest version of the Amazon Echo. As long as you are connected to the internet, you can place a call or send a message using your Echo device or the Alexa app.
Users can also enable “drop in” permission so they can “drop in” similar to using an intercom. This only works with the new Echo with a screen, however.
Create a to-do list
But instead of writing down what you plan to do today or the next day, just tell Alexa to add grocery shopping to your to-do list.
You can even ask Alexa what’s on your calendar, as it will also work as your personal assistant.
Check the weather, traffic, and the news
Rather than go online to check the weather forecast, simply ask Alexa. Find out if you need to bring an umbrella today or during the weekend.
Ask Alexa what your morning commute looks like and she will tell you if the roads are congested or not.
Ask Alexa what’s in the news and she will read it out for you. This frees up your hands to do other things, such as to make breakfast or to brush your teeth.
Do your research
To get information from Wikipedia, simply say: Alexa, Wikipedia and the subject you want to research. Amazon’s voice assistant will even read a Wikipedia entry to you when you command it to tell you more.
You can also ask general questions, such as the number of people who live in America, or something more specific, such as getting a quote from a movie or TV show or a movie’s IMDb rating.
Perform simple to complex calculations
Alexa can help you crunch numbers, performing basic math to advanced algebra and even getting as complex as a 70 factorial. It will also tell you how many cups are in a quart and do other useful conversions.
Do your shopping
Hook up Alexa with your Amazon account and it will do your shopping for you. You can even ask Alexa about Amazon’s daily deals.
Get information on food and businesses
Want to make chocolate chip cookies? Ask Alexa to get a recipe.
Want to know the nearest restaurants? Ask Alexa to find you the nearest coffee shop or a nearby pizza restaurant.
You can even ask Alexa for a local business’ phone number or operating hours.
The list goes on…
Alexa can do plenty on your behalf, from playing music to controlling appliances. She’s the perfect virtual assistant —all work and no complaints. Though, if you asked her to complain, she’d probably oblige.