Amazon’s svelte digital assistant, Alexa, is ubiquitous at this point - it can be found on smartphones, in smart speakers, and even has its own platform titled Alexa for Business that can help businesses integrate it into smart offices. While Alexa is amazing in its capabilities, it’s still limited, which is where it’s Alexa Skills really impress.
Alexa Skills are basically apps for Alexa, developed by third parties to give it abilities beyond its original purpose. They make your home life, work, and travel easier, and can be used by entrepreneurs and business developers to rejuvenate their industry. You probably already know how Alexa can play music and check the weather, but did you know it can report the wait times for the security line at your local airport? Here’s 10 Amazon Alexa skills you had no idea about!
10 IT CAN GIVE YOU THERAPY
While this particular Alexa skill shouldn’t replace your actual therapist or the healthy coping mechanisms in your life, it’s a nifty little feature that boosts your self-confidence. The Therapy Skill essentially lets you vent to Alexa all of your problems at work, school, or home without judgment.
Sure, it may seem odd to yell at your smart speaker, but Alexa will respond with words of encouragement, and remind you of your self-worth. Sound a little too New Age for you? Then you’ve never had positive reinforcement on demand before! Even if positive words come from a machine, they can still make you feel good. Just ask C-3PO.
9 IT CAN HELP YOU COOK
Who knew Alexa could be so helpful in the kitchen? Alexa cooking skills let you save time and energy by making sure you don’t slave over a hot stove for another. Need a cooking guide and have an Anova Precision Cooker? Just use your voice to access Anova Culinary and tell it to help you cook steak, or increase the temperature.
You can also use cooking skills like Joule: Sous Vide by ChefSteps to recall past cooking settings with your voice. Simply say a command like, “Alexa, ask Joule to cook my steak the way I made it last time” and off it will go. It also allows you to check the temperature and check the status of your meal.
8 IT CAN MAKE YOU A FANCY BARTENDER
If you want to test out your sommelier or bartending skills, let Alexa be your barback! If you’re prepping a romantic meal or sitting down to a dinner party and you’re not sure which wine to pair with your entree, the MySomm skill has you covered. Using voice command, simply say, “Alexa, ask Wine Gal what wine pairs with my chicken?”. The same applies for beer by utilizing the What beer? Skill.
If you want to try making up a fancy cocktail, just access The Bartender to find out what a specialty drink is made from. It will list the recipe and what ingredients you need. You’ll be an impressive mixologist in no time!
7 IT HELPS YOU KEEP ON YOUR DIET
If you find yourself too busy with work, hobbies, or family to plan or track your nutrition all the time, let Alexa lend you a hand. With Track by Nutritionix, you can record your food like an auditory food journal, as well as ask what the caloric count is of different foods. Using voice commands, you can ask Alexa to log everything you consume so you know you’re staying healthy.
If you’re too busy to cook and shop, just open Meal Idea and Alexa will give you recipes that call for things you already have in your house. All the recipes are simple and filling, and usually, only require two or three ingredients to make. Best of all, you don’t even have to leave your house.
6 IT HELPS YOU REORDER YOUR FAV THINGS
When it comes to certain essentials like pizza and coffee, you just want them done a certain way. Luckily, Alexa feels the same, and so offers way to reorder your favorite items exactly how you want them. With Domino’s Easy Order, you can ask Alexa to place your Easy Order, and even track it from the time the pie is made to delivery.The same goes for Pizza Hut!
If you need a sudden jolt of caffeine, Starbucks Reorder has you covered. Just enable the skill, and link your Starbucks mobile app account. It will place an order at one of the 10 previous Starbucks you’ve gone into. It allows you to switch between up to 5 previous mobile orders.
5 IT HELPS YOU TRACK YOUR FITNESS
While you probably already have a Fitbit or a mobile app on your phone that helps you track your daily fitness progress, the Alexa fitness skills are a great addition to what helps keep you healthy. You can access fitness programs, like the 7-Minute Workout that will blast through the Alexa speakers, getting you to a maximum sweat in less than ten minutes.
For those with even less time in their busy schedules, there’s even a 5-minute workout plan! And for those that do wear a Fitbit, Alexa can be synced with it so you can ask Alexa about your progress or even how you’ve been sleeping at night.
4 IT MAKES TRAVEL EASIER
Just think of Alexa as your virtual skycap, taking the stress out of all your traveling. It has a Kayak skill to help you plan your next trip, comparing airfare across multiple airlines. Before you even walk out the door to catch your flight, you can use the Airport Security Line Wait Times skill to check the wait times of the security lines at the airport you’re going to.
With a database that includes over 450 airports around the US, you’ll never have to waste another minute in line. Simply ask Alexa for the wait time at your airport terminal.s multiple airlines. You can even ask Alexa where to go based on how much money you have to allocate to travel. The skill will ask you for additional information to refine your search.
3 IT CAN MAKE YOU SEEM LIKE A GENIUS
Want to appear smarter to your friends, family, and coworkers? Alexa can help you seem like a Jeopardy champion with a few of its skills. With This Day in History skill, Alexa will give you a daily history lesson. All you have to do is open it by voice command and specify a date!
If you want random facts along with history, you can learn something new and amusing every day with the Reddit TIL skill. Accessing the top 25 TIL (Today, I Learned) Reddit posts of the day, it will enlighten you on a variety of topics. Seem the intellectual paradigm of all your friends without even trying, and dazzle them with a few jokes from the Geek Humor skill that specializes in science and tech-related laughs.
2 IT CAN HELP YOU RELAX
Did you know you can make your children the center of their own bedtime stories? Never fight with your kids again about what bedtime story to read - they all focus on them! With the Short Bedtime Story skill, you can not only have Alexa read the stories, but you can input your children’s names to substitute for all the other characters.
Use the Ambient Noise skill from Alexa to help you doze off once the kiddos are in bed. Choose from the sound of wind chimes, thunderstorms, rain, as well as dozens of others. With a voice prompt, Alexa will give you the entire list of soothing nature sounds.
1 IT CAN INTRODUCE YOU TO NEW PODCASTS
Have a long drive ahead of you, or want to put something on while you’re cleaning? The Anypod skill is a skill for pro podcast listeners. It’s one of the few built-in podcast skills Alexa has, and it allows you to subscribe to your favorites, as well as request certain episodes. It even allows you to link your Stitcher account to hear all your favorite podcasts that way.
Can’t decide? Access the Learn Something Radio skill to listen to Freakonomics, Hidden Brain, NPR, and more intellectual options. You can always put on an engrossing TED talk with Alexa using the TED Talks skill, which lets you specify the talk by category and topic. And of course, you can always just listen to music!
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