Amazon Echo is a device that allows you to play music, to get your questions answered, and to control connected devices just by speaking your command.
Echo has been around only since 2014 and if you find yourself wondering what people are talking about when they mention it (or Alexa) or what you could do with it, here are some of the best uses for Amazon Echo.
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Play your favorite music.
Amazon Echo allows you to skip poring over your playlist just to find the song that has been playing over and over in your head, you can just say, “Alexa, play Imagine by the Beatles” and lay back and enjoy John Lennon’s soulful voice.
You can play music from Amazon Prime Music, Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn and iHeartRadio. You can even play songs by genre, like “Alexa play some Zumba music”, or have her play songs by Taylor Swift.
You do not have to have your smartphone with you. If Amazon Echo starts playing a song that you don’t like, you can ask it to play the next song. If it something unfamiliar comes on when you are listening to streaming radio and you like it, you can ask, “Alexa, what is playing?”
You can also tell Alexa to turn the volume up or to stop playing music after a certain number of minutes.
If you think music is all you can hear from Amazon Echo, think again. Ask Alexa to read audiobooks from Audible and conveniently catch up on your “reading”! Or you can also ask Alexa to read your books on Kindle.
Alexa can read the books you bought from the Kindle Store, or borrowed from the service’s Kindle Unlimited or Lending Library. What’s more, Alexa reads books using the same text-to-speech technology that it uses when reading calendar events or news articles.
This is a great feature for those with little kids. If you are busy at work and have to put in overtime hours, your kids would not need to wait for you. Instead, they can just ask Alexa to read them their favorite bedtime story, and “she” would not even complain if your kids ask to read it again.
Get updated and get smarter.
On top of answering your questions, Amazon Echo can read you the news, update you on how your stocks are performing, and let you know how your favorite sports team is faring in a particular match or game that you can’t watch live. It can even read Wikipedia entries on your selected topics.
And if you are ready to test your smarts or have a fun night answering trivia with friends, you can just say “Enable Jeopardy” and Amazon Echo will turn on the Jeopardy skill and ask you trivia questions.
Control your lights and other things, too.
Amazon Echo works with several smart hubs including SmartThings, Insteon, and Wink. For instance, you can turn your Philips Hue lights on or off, or tell it to change colors.
So if you have a romantic dinner date, you can just tell Alexa to turn on your desired lighting condition and to play some romantic music. Amazon Echo also works with smart thermostats, allowing you to be able to tell it to set a specific preferred temperature for different rooms.
Get updated with new features.
Amazon has been very busy updating the things that you can do with Amazon Echo. If there are new updates, you can just ask Alexa what’s new and she would tell you all about it.
Get a nifty shopping assistant.
Amazon is still the biggest online retailer, so it would make sense that the shopping giant would make Amazon Echo useful when it comes to shopping.
If you open your refrigerator and find that you are running low on eggs and milk, you can ask Alexa to add these items to your grocery list. You can also buy the items you add to your shopping list on Amazon.com.
Alexa will look at your buying history on Amazon and see if you have bought that item before. For example, if you need batteries, it will check your Amazon order history to see what kind of batteries you have previously bought.
It will also suggest other brands and other types of batteries. It will then ask you if you want to proceed with the purchase.
Alexa will rely on your one-click settings and will use your preferred shipping address that Amazon has on file.
Aside from shopping, Alexa can also manage your to-do list for you.
Get help even when you are going out.
Planning to visit a friend somewhere? Alexa can give you directions on how to get there.
It can also give you traffic updates. For instance, you can enter your home and work addresses and Alexa can help you figure out the best route to the office. This service is in partnership with Nokia’s HERE. HERE, however, is not available everywhere.
Get an Uber.
Did you know that you can ask Alexa if you have enough gas left in your car? Yes, Alexa tells you that and if you do not have enough gas or if you do not feel like driving, it can get you an Uber. But you would need to enable the Uber Skill in order to do this.
Once you have set up and enabled the Uber Skill, all you need to do is say, “Alexa ask Uber to get me a car.”
Have food delivered to you.
It is close to dinner time but you feel lazy. In fact, you even feel too lazy to call for delivery. Have Alexa deliver food for you.
It would be nice to have Rosie the Robot from the Jetsons cartoon show bring you your favorite food on a tray, but that technology is not yet available. Well, Alexa is the next best thing. You can, for instance, order a Domino’s Pizza, which allows you to order by tweeting.
Amazon Echo has IFTTT integration, which allows you to tweet an order. You would need to set up your account with Dominos.com, enable Tweet ordering and set up the items you want as an easy order. Alexa will be tweeting Dominos for #easyorder and Domino’s would deliver it to you.
You will, however, still need to get up from the couch and answer the door when the delivery guy arrives.
Yes, Amazon Echo can help you cook. Just enable the Cooking Skills and Alexa will help you through the recipe and the cooking procedure. And if you wonder how many ounces are in a cup, you can ask Alexa that as well.
Amazon Echo also has several mixology skills, assisting you when you want to mix that perfect cocktail.
As we have mentioned earlier, Amazon keeps on rolling out new skills and updates for Amazon Echo, enabling it to do more for you. We have given you the ten best uses for the Amazon Echo, but here are the runners up:
Play games. Feeling bored? Why not play games? There are several interesting games that you can play with Amazon Echo. For instance, you and your friends can play Bingo, with Alexa calling out the numbers. Other games you can play include Tic Tac Toe, Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock, Blackjack, Abra, and Dice.
Update your Facebook status. You already know that Alexa can tweet for you. It is good to know that Amazon Echo can also update your Facebook status. It also works with Gmail and Evernote.
Lock your doors. If you have August Smart Lock, you can tell Alexa to lock the doors for you. Just perfect if you are already in bed and wondering whether you were able to lock the doors beforehand.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!