Useful Alexa skills that work reliably


Useful Alexa skills that work reliably

These skills help make Alexa more useful.

Since Amazon opened up the Alexa platform to all developers, there has been an explosion in Alexa skills growth. The amount of skills alone in the U.S. more than doubled over 2018—from 25,784 skills at the start of the year, to 56,750 by year end. That figure represents a 120 percent growth!

With an ever-expanding range of Alexa skills to choose from, it is becoming more of a challenge to find high-quality skills that offer solid user experiences. And admittedly—if you’re anything like me when it comes to this stuff—you’ll use skills that you have enabled maybe once or twice, only to later forget they ever existed.

A grey french bulldog is laying attentively on a wh Eite sofa. A round, wooden table to the right of the dog has an Amazon Echo speaker placed on top of it.

There are exceptions to this, of course. For instance, whenever I stumble across a skill that genuinely helps to improve everyday life or tangibly solves a real world problem, I will typically end up using it more often.

I want to help you identify Alexa skills that you will find useful time and time again, so I’ve compiled this article highlighting ten handy Alexa skills that I have found to work reliably. These add-ons introduce unique features that help make daily life flow a little smoother. If you would like to make your interactions with Alexa more useful, try enabling some of the free skills I’ve detailed below.

To activate any of the following skills, you can ask Alexa to enable them individually e.g. “Alexa, enable ‘Things to Try’ “, or simply press ‘Enable Skill’, to jump straight through to the skill detail page on Amazon.

Please note: Some of these skills require the installation of a free third-party smartphone app to access full functionality.

Things to Try: Learn about Alexa’s features

‘Things to Try’ is an Amazon-developed skill that helps you learn new and existing Alexa features. It integrates with Alexa’s default daily flash briefing, providing a fresh tip each day.

Whether you are newly acquainted with Alexa, or familiar with her nuances already, you are sure to learn something new with this nifty free skill.

Once enabled, try out any of the following voice commands:

Opening Bell: Fetch live stock prices with Alexa

‘Opening Bell’ enables Alexa to fetch stock data for you on the fly. Knowledge of specific company symbols is not necessary to use it.

Just ask for a company’s natural name, to get its stock price and daily percentage change. You’ll get a short, yet informative response back.

Once enabled, try out any of the following voice commands:

Mastermind: Turn Alexa into your own Phone Secretary

‘Mastermind’ offers a boon to productivity—It grants you complete hands-free operation of your mobile device with Alexa.

Using simple voice commands, you’re able to send and read SMS text messages, make and answer phone calls, find out who’s calling, get notifications, locate your phone, and launch apps.

Once enabled, try out any of the following voice commands:

‘OurGroceries’ manages grocery lists and keeps them synchronized across all of the iPhone and Android smartphones in your household.

This means that if you are at the store with your phone and someone back at home instructs Alexa to add an item to your list, the newly added item instantly appears on your phone’s list—you’ll never forget an item again!

Once enabled, try out any of the following voice commands:

Kitchen Measures: Let Alexa handle unit conversions

‘Kitchen Measures’ is a super simple and easy to use Alexa skill that converts cooking measurements into other units. Ever tried following recipes in your cookbooks citing units that you don’t normally use?

With this skill enabled, it’s no hassle at all—simply ask Alexa to convert the measurements. She’ll instantly come back with the correct data in a unit that you understand. You’ll never get stumped trying to remember how many cups are in a quart again! (..there’s four, by the way).

Once enabled, try out any of the following voice commands:

Five Minute Workout: Lose fat and get fit using Alexa

‘Five Minute Workout’ turns Alexa into a convenient personal trainer. The five-minute exercise routine incorporates jumping jacks, high-knees, crunches, leg raises, and mountain-climbers. You don’t need any equipment, just five minutes of time and enough space to move in.

You’ll be surprised by the effectiveness of this skill’s brief program—the difference a quick burst of activity makes to your mood is phenomenal. Use it daily, for the best results.

Once enabled, try out any of the following voice commands:

Sleep and Relaxation Sounds: Improve your sleep using Alexa

‘Sleep and Relaxation Sounds’ improves the quality of your sleep and blocks out unwanted noise by emitting natural ambient sounds like rain, wind, and forest birds.

There’s over 50 free high-quality sounds to choose from. You can set a timer that automatically turns it off when elapsed. You can also combine up to three sounds at once and store your creations for later access.

Once enabled, try out any of the following voice commands:

Time Out: Gently calm down your kids with Alexa

‘Time Out’ allows you to set a time-out period for up to 10 minutes. It asks for your child’s name and emits a gentle reminder to them once per minute to remain quiet.

This is a must-have skill for real families. Alexa will talk to your kids and track their time-outs for you. She’ll even commend them upon completion before sending them on their way.

Once enabled, try out any of the following voice commands:

MyStopwatch: A Stopwatch skill for Alexa that works reliably

‘MyStopwatch’ is an easy to use stopwatch skill for Alexa that works reliably. It provides immediate feedback letting you know when it has started. If you pause or stop it, Alexa will report back with the elapsed time.

Despite the huge amount of Alexa skills available, quality stopwatch skills happen to be few and far between. I’ve tried many other Alexa stopwatches and none have been as robust and easy to use as this particular skill.

Once enabled, try out any of the following voice commands:

Burglar Deterrent: Ward off burglars with Alexa

‘Burglar Deterrent’ helps to give piece of mind while you are away from home. It creates the illusion that your home or workplace is occupied, dissuading would-be intruders from trying to enter your property.

It works by causing Alexa to emit realistic ambient sounds sourced from a variety of environments like busy offices, parties, and nurseries. You can also customize the activity level of each environment, and choose whether background music plays or not.

Once enabled, try out any of the following voice commands:

Published at Tue, 14 May 2019 15:46:38 +0000