Alexa, Amazon’s virtual assistant, comes ready to help Echo owners with a multitude of different tasks, including playing music, keeping track of shopping lists, and making phone calls. By activating various Amazon Echo skills, Alexa’s capabilities expand beyond basic commands to nearly anything a user can think of. Ordering a pizza or calling a rideshare is possible as well as getting help with a workout.
In a previous article, we outlined the best Amazon Alexa skills. Nine months later, some things have not changed much. Domino’s is still a great and easy way to order pizza, and 1-800-Flowers dominates the flower ordering industry. But Alexa has also learned some new skills, which we describe here, as well as how to get Alexa to utilize skills.
How To Get Echo Skills
Before giving the best Amazon Echo skills, it is useful to know how to enable the skills. For users who already know the name of the skill, they can simply say, “Alexa, ask Uber for a ride” and Alexa will call an Uber ride to their location. Since the number of skills is constantly growing, most users will want to browse for skills to see what is out there. This can be done from the Alexa app, which is useful to do other things like change Alexa wake word. In the app, users can go to the skill store to browse and enable skills, as well as learn which commands will work with the skills. The app also allows users to disable skills or change parental security settings for kids’ skills. Users also have the option of going online to https://www.amazon.com/skills to browse skills and learn about the most recently released skills.
Best Echo Skills
There is a range of great Amazon Echo skills that users can utilize. Some are great for entertainment, others are functional, and a few are informational. While there are a large number of categories, some of the most popular are listed below.
One of the most popular game-related skills is Jeopardy. This skill has been at the top of the list for nearly a year. One new and popular skill is the Song Quiz skill. It tests users song knowledge by playing a clip and letting users guess which song is playing. Escape the Room is a puzzle game that walks users through a room where they can interact with objects to try to escape.
Of the over 3000 information Amazon Echo skills, a few stand out in their functionality and usefulness. There are skills for a variety of news channels such as FOX, CNN, and NPR. Recently, Alexa released a skill called Alexa Things to Try. When users say “Alexa, give me my flash briefing”, Alexa will provide users with new information daily, including the latest news and the latest top Alexa skill.
Non-news related skills that are highly rated include This Day in History, which recites historical events that happened in the past, and Word of the Day, which can be added to a user’s flash briefing.
There are a number of skills that can be enabled to help users. Cell Phone Finder and TrackR are good skills to use to find a lost cell phone although TrackR requires users to sign up with an account. Any.do lets users expand the number of lists to add items to them, including shopping lists, special events lists, and to-do lists.
Some functionality skills require external components. For instance, many smart devices like the Nest Thermostat or Phillips Hue lights require users to utilize Amazon Echo Skills. While users don’t have an option to utilize other skills if they don’t like the skill’s functionality, the majority of smart device skills are easy to use.
Physical and mental health can both be improved using Amazon Echo skills. Guided Meditation leads listeners through numerous meditations including those to help users fall asleep, reduce stress, and improve mood. Spa Music provides relaxing sounds to help listeners unwind at the end of a long day. To improve fitness, start the skill Five Minute Workout skill as a motivation to get off the couch and move.