Alexa and her many skills

Alexa and her many skills

We bought that Amazon Echo device with the wish to change the world, but all we've ended up doing in recent times is ask her for time, and control the light, mainly! If you are the proud owner of one of the Echo Show devices, the need to ask for time is also eliminated. Alexa can perform a series of actions from a single voice command, shop on Amazon using your voice, and is loaded with over 12,000 Alexa skills (that are ever-evolving) that can help enhance your Echo experience. What then did you get the digital butler in your life, you often ask yourself, well, we can help explore some of Alexa's skills that have always been there, but either you've been too lazy to explore, or never had the time to. No more excuses, we say.

Create a routine
Of the 12,000 skills your friendly Alexa is loaded with, setting up Routines is perhaps the easiest to infuse in your daily life. You can use the new Routines feature to automate a series of customisable actions using a single voice command of your choice. For instance, say, "Alexa, good morning," and Alexa will switch-on compatible lights, read the daily news flash and the weather for the day. Routines can be created based on the time of day and customised for your needs.

Alexa Blueprint
Alexa Blueprints allows you to create your own customised voice apps or skills for Alexa without having to code! Choose from tons of templates to create your very own personal Alexa skill in minutes! Using Blueprints, you can create custom games, unique stories, or household lists. For example, you can write a trivia skill about your family and say, "Alexa, open My Family Trivia" to play it whenever you like. Then, pick a template of your choice and create a skill you can use on your device or the Alexa app on your phone, share it with close friends and family, or even open it up for the public. The step-by-step guide makes it an extremely easy skill to explore and have fun with.

Calm your furry companion
While your digital butler is great for answering questions, playing music, keeping lists, enabling your smart home experience, and much more, your furry companions, whom you care about so much shouldn't be left behind either. Correct? A few top skills like "Calm My Pet", "Hill's Pet Nutrition", "Al's Dog Training Tips", "The Dog Feeder", "Calm My Cat", "The Dog Translator" and "Beagle Facts" are some of the skills you can explore so both you and your dog can have some fun. In fact, aside from sharing relevant info about your pet, the calming skill works like a charm for your stressed-out pets by playing calming music at just the right tempo. So go on. Shout commands like, "Alexa, ask Hills about dogs", "Alexa, ask Cat Fact to give me some cat information", or simply, "Alexa, ask the dog if we fed her" is going to keep you and your furry companion busy and well entertained.

A new Home screen for the App
An all new Home screen for your Alexa app makes the experience faster, navigation smoother, layout simplified and suggestions more personalised depending on each person's usage. A few cosmetic changes, like the change in the position of the Alexa button, bringing it to the top of screen, to making the hands-free Alexa experience an option, the app has been face-lifted to suit all with ease. The suggestions for those new to the platform will be simple on how to get started, moving on to Amazon Music and accessing shopping lists, so even newbies don't feel like they're exploring alien territory.

Your friendly neighbourhood translator
The good folks at the Amazon offices are keen for you to learn more skills all the time. They've made it easier for you to acquire a new skill, like learning a new language, or simply translating something basic for you, Alexa is your translator-on-all. Alexa can help you learn new languages like German, French, Spanish and more. Just say "Alexa, translate thank you into French", or "Alexa, how do you say happy to meet you in Spanish?" to hear the translation.

Megha Monga Anand