If you’ve recently upgraded your home with an Amazon Echo in the January sales – or maybe have only just gotten around to setting-up the smart speaker that Santa left under the tree at Christmas – there are plenty of new things to try with the AI-powered gadget. Amazon offers a few suggestions when you’ve set everything up, however, the Seattle-based retail firm is quietly adding new functions all the time.
Amazon doesn’t always shout about its tweaks and improvements to Alexa. Sometimes, the clever engineers behind the talkative AI assistant want Echo owners to stumble across the new features, in-jokes and movie references by experimenting with Alexa. That gives the voice-activated gadgets a real personality – arguably more so than rival Google Assistant – but it does mean you could be missing out on some of the best new tricks available from your Amazon Echo.
Thankfully, we’ve got a list of new features and tricks to try with your smart speakers.
First up, did you know that you can start your day with a fact from Alexa? It’s the perfect feature for any buddy Pub Quiz attendees who want to clue themselves up on new trivia. To do that, simply say: “Alexa, good morning” and you’ll be presented with a new tidbit and factoid from Amazon.
If you’ve got an Amazon Echo in the kitchen, there are plenty of things Alexa can help out with. Not only can the smart assistant handle any song requests or play radio stations, it will also help coach you through a new recipe.
“Alexa, what fruits are in season?”
“Alexa, what wine goes well with salmon?”
“Alexa, give me a chocolate brownie recipe”
“Alexa, what’s on my shopping list?”
“Alexa, play Lewis Capaldi”
“Alexa, set an alarm to country music”
Or, if you’re not in the mood to listen to the radio or a song, you can get the smart assistant to read a page-turner to you.
“Alexa, read my Kindle book”
“Alexa, read me a free audiobook”
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Of course, it’s not all kitchen-based distractions and cooking help. Amazon has kitted-out Alexa with a huge variety of different capabilities to help out. It can answer questions about local businesses, local weather and news updates. Not only that, it also comes preloaded with a load of games – like the ability to repeat back whatever you say by prefacing your sentence with Simon says.
“Alexa, Simon says ‘stop copying me’”
“Alexa, open Smooth Radio”
“Alexa, tell me something funny”
“Alexa, where’s the nearest bank?”
“Alexa, play Nature Sounds”
“Alexa, what’s the temperature outside?”
“Alexa, tell me a Star Trek joke”
“Alexa, is it sunny in Brighton?”
“Alexa, how high can you count?”
Most recently, Amazon launched its Echo Studio – a premium Alexa-powered designed to compete with the likes of the Sonos One and Apple HomePod in audio quality. It can also be paired with Amazon’s Fire TV streaming kit to create a makeshift surround sound system ready for your next movie night.