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Unless you’ve been laying pretty low recently, you’ve probably heard about the Amazon Echo, aka Alexa, the revolutionary speaker that actually listens to what you say and answers you. You may even have one at home, but you’re probably still trying to figure out all of the cool things it (she) can do. Well, take it from us—this thing is way more than just a speaker. Just ask Chris Monroe of CNET, who reviewed Amazon Echo. “I ask it for the morning headlines as I brew my 8 a.m. pot of coffee,” Monroe said. “I ask it to play the most recent episode of my favorite podcast while I work out. I ask it to set a timer when I throw a frozen pizza in the oven for dinner. I ask it to turn my lights out when I’m hitting the sack. It’s always listening, and it always just works.”
So what should you be asking Alexa to do for you? Though the list of what she’s capable of is long, here are some of our favorite things we now look to Alexa to handle for us.
1. Ask Alexa To Set Your Alarm
2. Ask Alexa The Weather
Wondering how to dress each morning? Just ask Alexa for the weather forecast. And when you’re depressed by her answer this winter, go ahead and ask her what the weather’s like in whichever vacation destination you’ve been eyeing, too.
3. Ask Alexa What’s Going On Today
If you thought moving from a written calendar to your computer or phone was high-tech, Alexa will help you take it to the next level. Just ask your Amazon Echo what’s on your calendar and you’ll never miss another appointment or meeting.
4. Ask Alexa For Today’s News Headlines
If you want to be briefed on today’s headlines and news, ask Alexa for a “Flash Briefing,” and she’ll tell you what’s going on based on news sources you chose when you first set her up. She’ll deliver pre-recorded updates from news sources such as NPR and headlines from outlets like The Associated Press. Pretty cool.
5. Ask Alexa For A Ride
Yep, Alexa can get you an Uber. Just ask!
6. Ask Alexa To Play Music
At first, you could only play music on Echo from your phone. But now you can play music from several sources, like Amazon Prime Music, of course, plus Spotify and Pandora, to name a few. You can also ask Alexa to play a certain artist or genre (like relaxing music or country music). You can even ask Alexa to sing you a song (Try it, the result is hilarious).
7. Ask Alexa To Add Items To Your Grocery List
You know when you go grocery shopping and you forget your list? Not anymore! Just tell Alexa to add potato chips—erm, carrots!—to your shopping list and you’re all set! How does that work? There’s an Alexa Shopping List on the Amazon website, as well as on the app. And if you share an Amazon Prime account with someone in your household, you can both add to the same list. Yep, that’s technology for you!
8. Ask Alexa Where To Have Dinner
If you want to skip that grocery shopping and go out to eat, ask Alexa for advice. Just tell her what you’d like to eat, like Italian food, and she’ll rattle off suggestions. Boom—dinner is (almost) served!
9. Ask Alexa To Read To You
Do you want to do some post-dinner, pre-bedtime reading—i.e., listening? No problem! Just have Alexa read your latest book to you! The best part? You can have her read for a set amount of time, like a half-hour, and she can always go back to a certain spot, so don’t worry about losing your place should you fall asleep in the meantime. And aside from Kindle books, Alexa can also read Wikipedia articles to you.
Of course, the more you get to know Alexa, the more you’ll find out about her and discover even more of her amazing features.
As Monroe also said in his Amazon Echo review for CNET, “That’s the true success of Amazon’s likable smart speaker—it fits in seamlessly with your daily routine. It doesn’t ask you to change any of your habits, it just makes a surprising number of those habits better. It’s the most futuristic product that I own, yet it’s also right at place in my present.”