Amazon recently announced that the Alexa AI powering its voice speakers has now learned 1,000 “skills”. In case you’re not up to date, we have picked out a few of our favorite new Amazon Echo skills and you can discover the rest by yourself.
The new skills are mostly third-party plug-ins and to get them working, install the Alexa app for Android or iOS and open the Skills menu.
Translates words and phrases
If you live in a multicultural environment where expats blend together in a harmonious coexistence, you need to get the My Translator skill set up on your Echo and you need never be stuck for a word again—say “Alexa, ask My Translator to translate…” then a phrase and a foreign language.
Ask an 8-ball
Install the Magic 8-Ball skill on your Echo then ask it anything: “Alexa, ask Magic 8-Ball if I’m going to be rich,” say, or whatever else you want a mystic (random) answer to.
Call a cab
Uber integration is perhaps one of the most well-known Amazon Echo features—say “Alexa, ask Uber to request a ride” and a taxi will be on its way to your location in minutes.
Control your SmartThings
Samsung’s SmartThings works seamlessly with the Echo and Alexa. Once you’ve got the skill installed and ready you can say “Alexa, dim bedroom light to 60 percent” and so on.
With the Air Quality Report skill you can look up the current air quality in any 5-digit US ZIP code—just say “Alexa, ask Air Quality Report for zip code…” and then the code you want.
Find a trip that fits your budget
Search tool Kayak is available as a skill, with queries like “Alexa, ask Kayak where I can go for 500 dollars” and “Alexa, ask Kayak how much it costs to fly from Dubai to Istanbul.”
Find decent movies
Are there any current films worth watching? Get the Movie Score skill on your Echo then hit it with something along the lines of “Alexa, ask Movie Score for top box office movies.”
Find local events
Ticketing service StubHub and your Amazon Echo can help you uncover interesting gigs and events nearby via “Alexa, ask StubHub what’s going on tonight” or any other night.
Find the distance between two places
Add the Distance Between skill to your Echo, then try “Alexa, ask Distance Between” followed by your two places of choice and the mode of transportation you’re using.
Get golf scores
The PGA Tour skill lets you track golfers and tournaments, anything from “Alexa, ask PGA Tour how Jordan Spieth is doing” to “Alexa, ask PGA Tour for the leaderboard.”
Get product reviews
Try the ones from PCMag—say “Alexa, ask PCMag what’s the best cell phone,” for example, to hear the number one smartphone pick.
Hear your horoscope
One of the Amazon Echo skills is regularly updated horoscopes from Elle and the Astro Twins. To get at them, say “Alexa, ask horoscope for…” followed by your star sign of choice.
Improve your spelling
With the Spelling Bee skill installed you can improve your spelling whenever you’re close to your Echo. Say “Alexa, launch Spelling Bee” and then speak out the word to spell.