Third-party apps take it to the next level
Amazon Echo smart assistants are powerful devices with a huge range of predetermined abilities, but with the right Alexa Skill the assistants become even more useful. Alexa Skills are third-party applications that allow the Amazon Echo to connect to other devices and perform tasks outside its normal scope.
The best part about Alexa Skills is the Skills Blueprint, a system anyone can use to create their own skills—no coding experience or knowledge required. Here are the best Amazon Echo Skills you need to know.
Find My Phone is exactly what it sounds like. You ask Alexa to dial your number, and your phone begins ringing—perfect for those times when you lose it in-between the couch cushions or you just can’t remember where you placed it.
Find My Phone can hold multiple numbers, so it’s usable by the entire family. The downside is that it cannot turn your volume up, so if your phone is on silent the Skill loses some of its use.
Do you like to cook? If so, the My Chef Amazon Echo skill will be a tremendous help in the kitchen. It pairs with the Chefling app and lets you track recipes, add shopping lists, and even food expiration dates.
It’s a great app for adding items to your shopping list as you run out, but My Chef can even remind you of the items you need when you are out at the grocery store.
Whether you only drink on occasion or consider yourself an amateur mixologist, knowing the recipes for specific cocktails makes all the difference between enjoying yourself and pouring it down the drain.
The Bartender skill gives you access to more than 12,000 cocktails. It’s a great way to experiment with making a drink you’ve never tried before, but if you only have a few ingredients on hand you can tell Bartender what you have and it will tell you what you can make.
It can be tough to carve out time for an effective workout. You need more than just a few push-ups to get the job done. Thankfully, the 7-Minute Workout skill will walk you through how to do each of these workouts, step-by-step.
The exercises included in the Amazon Echo skill are tested to improve metabolism, burn fat, and much more. While it isn’t the same as going to a gym, these workouts are some of the best at-home exercises you can get.
In today’s busy world, it can be difficult to unwind for the evening, but failing to do so results in poor quality sleep. Alexa has a skill for that.
The Sleep and Relaxation Sounds skill can play everything from thunderstorms to gentle streams, helping to lull your mind into the optimum condition for slumber.
While all serious medical situations should be handled by professionals, basic first aid questions can be answered through the Mayo Clinic Alexa skill. It can tell you how to handle scratches all the way to CPR, but keep in mind that this skill is intended for instructional purposes only.
If a serious situation arises, call 911—but in a pinch, the Mayo Clinic skill may be able to walk you through life-saving procedures that can help someone who is injured until paramedics arrive.
Much like the Mayo Clinic skill, Ask My Buddy is not a substitute for 911, but it can be helpful in an emergency. The Amazon Echo skill will send a notification to a preselected contact and let them know you need help. This notification can be either a text or a phone call.
If you fall and cannot reach your phone, the Ask My Buddy skill can let someone know to send help.
If the idea of staying tuned in all the time to the 24/7 news cycle just exhausts you but you still want to know what’s happening, the NPR Hourly News Summary is just the thing for you. This is a five-minute briefing on the days’ news, updating every hour so that it stays current.
It will give you a rundown of the most important events of the day. If you want to dig deeper into any specific story, the NPR Hourly News Summary skill will give you a place to start.
This Alexa Skill can help translate phrases from English into 37 other languages (and vice-versa.) Whether you’re learning a new language or you need to figure out how to say something on the fly, the Translated skill will help with even more obscure languages like Basque and Welsh.
If Alexa says the phrase too quickly for you to understand, you can ask her to repeat it more slowly, as many times as you need until you fully grasp it. The Translated skill is a great addition to any linguist’s toolbox.
When life seems a bit too hectic, taking just a few minutes out of your day to center and focus can help you regain a sense of control. Even if you don’t have time for a long meditation session, the Guided Meditation skill can still help.
Sessions are between three and eight minutes long and there are more than 60 to choose from. Next time you feel overwhelmed by the events of the day, take a few minutes to sit back, close your eyes, and focus on breathing.
There are tens of thousands of Amazon Echo Skills to choose from, but these are some of the best options to get you started. If none of these are exactly what you are looking for, take some time to browse the available Skills until you find some that interest you.
What is your favorite Alexa Skill? Let us know in the comments below.