How To Make An Amazon Echo Device Even Better


Alexa skills extend the functionality of Amazon’s virtual assistant, but there are so many that it can be difficult to know where to start.

Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant can do much more than just play music and call friends — beyond its standard functions, there are a huge number of skills that can be installed to extend its capabilities. The things that skills can let users do range from playing games to accessing a variety of news channels to talking to Santa Claus himself. The difficulty with there being so many, though, is working out which ones are the best.

When Amazon released Alexa in 2014 it wanted to make sure that the virtual assistant was as useful as possible. By allowing skills to be installed on Alexa devices, like the Echo, Amazon ensured that its virtual assistant could be adapted to perform different tasks and activities for different users depending on what they need. While many of these skills are created and provided by Amazon, many others are created by third parties, further increasing the ways in which Alexa can be put to use.

Related: Alexa Brief Mode: What Is It & How To Turn It On Explained

Some of the best Alexa skills are news offerings like the NPR skill. This allows users to access the public radio station and keep in touch with all the latest news. The user can tune in at any moment and even access specific segments like the Morning Edition. There are many other news skills like CNN, ABC, and FoxNews. Another very useful skill is the Ring skill. If users have a Ring Video Doorbell they can access it through Alexa. They can choose to talk to people who ring the doorbell or walk by and, if they have an Echo Show, they can even view who is outside their front door. For users who want to have more fun with Alexa they can use the Call Santa skill. This is great for users with children who are in the holiday spirit. Santa will talk to the user, play gags, and make jokes. The skill is also best used on devices with displays so they can see Santa and his helpers in an animated fashion.

Other Great Alexa Skills

Someone using an Amazon Echo Show device

Elsewhere, users can use skills to play games like Jeopardy or 20 Questions, call or video chat with family and friends via Skype, receive inspirational quotes with Inspire Me, or get help with meditation with Headspace. Those who have pets can use skills like Comfort My Dog, which plays soothing music and sounds to relax their dog at home. And, for those who like to cook, there are a host of cooking skills like the Food Network skill that can display recipes. Those who prefer to eat out, meanwhile, can use the Domino’s skill to order a pizza.

The variety of skills available for Alexa means that users can customize the virtual assistant to suit their needs. What’s more, new skills are being developed every day, so it’s worth keeping an eye on what is being released. In order to start using skills, all a user has to do is log into the Alexa app, tap the More button, and then select Skills and Games to start choosing what skills are right for them.

Next: How To Manage Alexa Smart Devices Using The App

Source: Amazon

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Updated: November 5, 2020 — 12:56 pm

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