• Amazon Echo: 14 brilliant things Alexa can do

    by  • September 15, 2016 • How To • 3 Comments

    Amazon Echo in bedroom | girlaboutech-comAmazon’s new Echo isn’t just a cool-looking speaker, it’s the gateway to your very own personal assistant, Alexa.

    I like Alexa. She’s smart, funny, and always eager to help, much like myself *ahem*. Here are some of the things she can do.

    1. START A KITCHEN TIMER
    Just ask Alexa to ‘set a timer for ten minutes’. Echo will play an alarm sound when the time is up.

    2. DELIVER NEWS UPDATES
    Alexa can give you the latest bulletins from Sky News, the BBC and the Guardian.

    3. SOLVE TRICKY SUMS
    Alexa is great at maths – just make sure the kids don’t use her to cheat on their homework.

    4. PLAY YOUR FAVOURITE MUSIC
    Alexa can stream tunes directly from Spotify, TuneIn radio or Amazon Prime Music, and she can control your Sonos or Bose music systems, too.

    5. GET THE WEATHER FORECAST
    Making plans for the weekend? Alexa can tell you if it’s going to rain or shine.

    6. GIVE TRAFFIC UPDATES
    Because commuting is THE WORST and the school run isn’t much better (hot dads aside), it would at least be nice to know whether you’re going to be stuck in a tailback before you leave the house.

    Alexa can get you up to speed (or warn of a lack of it) by giving you an estimated travel time of your journey, along with details of jams and road work.

    She’s also chummy with National Rail, should you need a heads up on train times.

    7. ORDER A TAKEAWAY…
    Because Echo is compatible with third-party app Just Eat, you can order a cheeky Chinese or party pizzas through Alexa. She’ll even remember what you had last time and reorder it for you.

    8. …OR A TAXI
    Got a dinner guest that just won’t leave? Under the pretence of showing off your new technology, you can ask Alexa to book an Uber.

    9. CONTROL YOUR HEATING
    Too hot or cold? Various smart thermostats can be controlled through Alexa, including Hive, Tado and Netatmo.

    10. GET THE DRY CLEANING DONE
    Laundrapp has also joined the Echo gang, so you can order them to collect, clean and deliver your laundry through Alexa.

    11. COOK WITH JAMIE
    Following a recipe usually results in getting a cookbook – or worse – your tablet caked in ingredients. But just ask Alexa ‘What’s for dinner’, and she’ll present you with some ideas from Jamie Oliver.

    Pick one, and the man himself will talk you through the method, leaving your hands free to prep. Pukka!

    12. CHECK ON THE CAR
    Sadly, this one only applies to BMW owners at the moment, but those lucky few can check their car is locked, and ask Alexa to lock it if not.

    13. READ A TALKING BOOK
    Alexa can access Audible, so if you have an account, you can ask her to pick up where you left off on your last audio book.

    14. TELL A JOKE
    Alexa fancies herself as a bit of a comedienne. Ask her to tell a joke, and she’ll come out with a zinger like ‘I don’t trust people with graph paper, they’re always plotting something.’ Probably shouldn’t give up the day job, Alexa…

    3 Responses to Amazon Echo: 14 brilliant things Alexa can do

    1. November 25, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      Brilliant. I’ve had Alexa for a week and I am loving the realisation of a childhood dream to control lights with my voice. I am sure this will be a growing list, but the brilliant thing I would add is ‘Make a Shopping List’. Just ask Alexa “Add X to my shopping list” and it will appear in your phone App. No more scribbled lists on the back of an envelope stuck to the fridge.

    2. February 15, 2017 at 11:07 am

      As gimmicky as Alexa might seem at the moment, I really do think this is the way forward for technology. Thinking about optimising the user experience for phones, one of the most annoying elements is the possibility of human error – or, typing the wrong thing. Humans are much more capable of speech than inputting little letters onto a little screen, so bringing technology up into the realm of speech creates a wealth of possibilities for easy use and development in coming years.

    3. October 1, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      I like the idea of having a personal assistant at home.. the points you’ve made are interesting ones… still not sure which one to go for Google Home or Amazon Echo

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *