Sometimes you don’t have your hands free to look up an answer to a burning question. Over 300 million homes will have smart home assistants by 2022, and for good reason: they make life so much easier. Amazon Alexa has many hidden features that many users are unaware of.
These hidden productivity, entertainment, social, and health features are must-haves the next time you want something new from your favorite virtual assistant.
Alexa can keep you up to date with scheduling and work-related features. Check out these fun productivity hacks your device can offer.
Find your phone
You don’t need your phone to look things up when you have a virtual assistant — in fact, an Echo device could help you steer clear of checking it too frequently. But if you need your phone and can’t figure out where you left it, you can ask Alexa to ring it and reveal its location.
Call an Uber or Lyft
Need to go somewhere but can’t find your phone? Have Alexa ask Lyft to request a ride for you. This way you can spend time looking for your phone and still be sure that your car will arrive on time. It comes in handy when you need your hands free for other things.
Help you plan your vacation
With the Where to Vacation skill, Alexa can suggest popular tourist attractions to help you plan your vacation. If you’ve never been to the area, you can ask Alexa what to do when you arrive. Alexa can tell you all the great places to visit based on web search results.
Decide on your outfit
Are you at a loss as to what to wear? Alexa can help you decide. Ask “Alexa, what should I wear today?” and you’ll get an answer based on the forecast weather for your current location.
You’ll find that choosing your morning clothes is easier than ever if you don’t mind asking your smart assistant for fashion tips.
Alexa’s main function is to make your life easier, but it can also make your downtime more fun. These features are for entertainment purposes only and are designed to cure your boredom during the day.
Telling jokes, singing, rapping or beatboxing
Alexa has plenty of hackneyed jokes to share with you — all you have to say is, “Alexa, tell me a joke.” The virtual assistant also jams when you tell it, “Sing me a song.” And one special guest even shows up if you ask them to “sing a duet with Ed Sheeran.”
Want to keep your pet busy while you work on something else? Alexa can do that for you. It can trigger a series of barks and meows to “talk” to your pet when you ask “Alexa, enable Meow” or “Alexa, enable Woof.”
If that’s not good enough to keep them entertained, Alexa can also play music, which can help them relax by saying, “Alexa, open Calm My Pet.” There are also calming skills that can be used for dogs either or cat specific.
Providing lottery and sports (or fantasy sports) play-by-plays
You can call Alexa to let you know once your team has won the big game – or even offer advice on your fantasy football league using skills like Fantasy Football. There are plenty of sports-related questions and commands for Alexa to please even the most die-hard sports fan.
Are you someone who looks up the latest sports scores and lottery numbers while brewing your morning coffee? Alexa can do both, with multiple voice-activated commands available for people to hear lottery results from the virtual assistant as quickly as possible, from general lottery number skill to country-specific lottery skill options.
Roll a dice or toss a coin
If you’re playing a game or need a tiebreaker, you can ask Alexa to roll a die or toss a coin, which is pretty handy considering you’re unlikely to be carrying cash around, let alone a die. And since Alexa does the work, no one can accuse anyone of cheating.
Akinator is a fun game where a web AI tries to guess what character or historical figure you’re thinking about. Alexa can channel Akinator’s questions so you can play the game from the comfort of your couch without having to visit the website. This game is a fun pastime – say “Alexa, open Akinator” to get started.
Alexa offers several fun features to use with family members. It can start a conversation or help people wind down for the night. Alexa mimics things you can do with a little more flair.
Tell a bedtime story
If your kids don’t come down at bedtime, you can always offer them a story told by Alexa. Alexa can search through a wealth of stories and choose one that seems perfect for your kids. It can also tell scarier stories to bored adults.
You can activate this ability by saying, “Alexa, tell me a story.” If you have an Audible account, you can also connect your account directly to your Alexa device to read from your current Audible library to let.
Track Santa’s whereabouts
Many services can help you track down Santa Claus for your children on Christmas Eve. Knowing where he is can delight any child and make them more excited for the morning. Trackers typically track Santa’s journey for a full 24 hours or more, giving you plenty of time to ask Alexa where he’s flying to.
Just ask, “Alexa, where’s Santa?” after enabling the skill in the Alexa app.
Change the conversation
Need to change the topic of conversation but don’t know what to say? Ask Alexa to change the subject. It can give you something new to talk about and entertain your household or guests.
Features to customize the functionality of Alexa
Alexa has many great features, but some are also features that can improve the quality of its responses. Try these fun features next time you want to change how Alexa talks to you.
Some people don’t like how slowly virtual assistants speak. If you want Alexa to speak more like a human, all you have to do is tell it to speak faster. You should notice Alexa’s words speed up shortly after.
If you’re talking to Alexa late at night, you might not want it waking up the household at its default volume. When you whisper your question or command to Alexa, she lowers her voice so you can talk to her privately.
Health and Wellness Features
While not a replacement for a doctor or nurse, Alexa acts as your personal health assistant in your daily activities. With these features, you can check the progress of your loved ones and your fitness journey.
Be your personal trainer
Alexa knows how to get you in shape and help you build muscle. Just ask it for a quick workout. Alexa can also track your progress over time, so you can always check how much you’ve improved since you started.
care for a loved one
Alexa can take care of elderly loved ones who need a lot of monitoring when you can’t always be with them.
The device can perform multiple tasks using the Alexa Together service, such as e.g.:
- Send notifications when your loved one interacts with it
- Let you know when your loved one starts their day or if there is no activity at a certain time
- detect falls
- Access a professional Urgent Response emergency hotline
Teach proper handwashing
Children learn best when taught to do something repeatedly. You can try teaching your kids how to wash their hands with videos, but did you know Alexa can do the same? Get Alexa to tell your kids how long to wash their hands and lay the groundwork for a better habit.
Tell Alexa to “sing a hand washing song” or “sing a song for 20 seconds” to turn on the feature.
While Alexa is a virtual assistant, it can also protect your home. Alexa Guard is a special feature you can subscribe to so Alexa can protect your home. In combination with other services, it can be quite scary for intruders.
Bark at intruders
Want the menace of a guard dog without actually having one? Alexa has you covered whether your home is pet-free or your pups are too shy to bark at potential threats.
An Alexa Guard feature makes Alexa bark like a dog to deter intruders. It’s an easy way to protect your home without a large investment.
Listen to broken glass
In sentry mode, Alexa listens for several factors that could indicate a burglary in your home. You’ll get a notification in your app when it detects something like broken window glass. You can play sounds to get a better idea of what’s going on in your home and even listen in real time through your Alexa to hear what’s happening.
Be a security camera
Alexa Echo Show has a screen that can show the time, streaming apps, and more. You can use its features like a security camera to see what’s happening inside or outside your home. It’s a great way to feel comfortable in your home when you’re alone.
To start using the feature, go to Settings > Camera > Home Monitoring on your Echo Show.
Work as an intercom
Alexa can act as an intercom for other Amazon devices throughout the home with the “Drop In” feature. If you need to communicate with someone on another floor, you can talk to them through another Alexa assistant — and if you’re not sure where they are, you can use the Announce feature to send a message to anyone to send echo in the house . This way it’s easy to keep your whole family in the loop.
Alexa wears a lot of hats
Alexa is indispensable in many ways and can make life and daily tasks easier for every household. Using Alexa should be stress-free, and you can become familiar with its many features and tools by having fun with everything the virtual assistant offers. Try some of these features when you’re bored or at a loss. You’ll be more grateful than ever to have Alexa in your home.