Thanks to its thousands of skills, Alexa can do just about anything. And enabling Alexa skills is easier than ever. Now, all you have to do is say, "Alexa, enable Lyft," and poof — you've given your Echo speaker or other Alexa-enabled device the ability to order you a ride.
Currently, Alexa is found primarily inAmazon's Echo speakers. But you can also find the virtual assistant in a number of third-party devices, such as the Ecobee4 Thermostat as well as speakers like the Sonos One. The virtual AI is popping up in new places all of the time, so you might as well make it as smart as possible.
Currently, some of the best Alexa skills include Mastermind, MyPetDoc, Ask My Buddy, Thunderstorm Sounds and more. Here are some of the best skills to enable on Alexa.
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If you ask "Alexa, what are your deals?" you'll hear a series of Prime member-exclusive deals that you need an Alexa-enabled device to order. You can also visit Amazon's Voice Shopping page to get the sentences you'll need to say to trigger them.
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Rather than waking up to a simple beep-beep-beep, you can tell Alexa to play a specific song, radio station, music genre, or more at a specific time. This works with Amazon's music services as well as Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Deezer, SiriusXM, Tidal, iHeartRadio, Vevo and Gimme.
Here are some examples of things you can say:
Android smartphone users can send SMS messages hands-free through the Alexa app; here's how to set it up. iPhone owners, however, will need to use a third-party skill such as the Mastermind skill, which not only lets you send and receive SMS messages, but will help you find your phone, monitor its battery life, turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, start Google Maps, send articles from your phone to Alexa, and much more.
Through Alexa, you can donate to a charity or organization. Just say "Alexa, donate $20 to the American Cancer Society," or even more simply, "Alexa, make a donation," and then you will be prompted to choose an organization and a dollar amount. Currently, there are over 230 charities with which this feature works, including the American Heart Association, ASPCA, Doctors Without Borders, One Laptop Per Child, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and the Wikimedia Foundation. Here is a complete list of organizations that accept voice donations via Alexa. In order to use this service, you need to have set up an Amazon Pay account, and have voice purchasing enabled.
With Microsoft's Xbox skill, you can control your Xbox One console with voice commands. Alexa can toggle your device on and off, adjust the volume, launch games, and capture screenshots and clips. Just turn on your Xbox and enable the skill, then follow Alexa's instructions to pair the device to your console.
If your pet is sick or acting strangely, and you're not sure what's wrong, Alexa can help. Let MyPetDoc know Fido's symptoms, and Alexa will ask follow-up questions and provide advice. If Alexa doesn't know what's wrong, it will forward your conversation and phone number to a veterinarian, who will give you a call within a few minutes. (Just remember that while Alexa can give you some guidance, it's not a substitute for an official vet visit).