As of August last year, Amazon has sold a reported 50 million Alexa-enabled devices, making them the world’s most popular voice assistants by far. And it’s not difficult to see why. From ordering dinner or hailing an Uber to turning up the heating and doing your shopping list, Alexa can quickly become the uber-handy home help you always wanted. But it’s only when you get to grips with the vast range of Alexa skills that the device truly comes into a league of its own.
Your smart Alexa is a real smart Alec
Since its launch in 2014, Alexa has gone from boasting a measly 13 skills to now having over 30,000. Which means your Alexa essentially has over 30,000 apps that can connect to help you perform everyday tasks, entertain and educate you, and generally make life more comfortable – all with a simple voice command.
Alexa is so clever these days that you don’t even need to enable her skills before using them. You simply ask Alexa to use the skill and, hey presto, your wish is her command.
You can even create your own skills by using Amazon’s Blueprint – with no coding required.
So, what Alexa skills should you grab?
With a slew of skills on offer, we thought it’d be a good idea to narrow down the field and point you in the direction of some of the best ones out there. So, with the discerning Woven studio guiding the way, here are the ten best skills for your Alexa to learn.
Through Alexa and British Gas’s Hive hub, you can control your home’s temperature, turn up or dim the lights, and even put the kettle on. It pretty much gives you X-Men-level powers and, most importantly, means you don’t have to get off your backside to crank up the thermostat.
2. Burglar Deterrent
Remember this shadow scene in Home Alone? Well, Burglar Deterrent is like that, just without the hours of planning and hard work. It helps protect your homestead by giving the illusion that it’s occupied, playing clips of everyday activities, such as cleaning up, laughing, working at home, or preparing food.
3. Domino’s Pizza
Want a slice of the action without lifting a finger or phone? Then the Domino’s skill should be high on your shopping list. Whether you want to build a pizza from scratch or just fancy sticking to your favourite, simply say “Alexa, open Domino’s” and pizza perfection will soon be winging your way.
4. Yes Sire
A game that puts you at the helm of the realm and tests your ability to govern wisely, Yes Sire brings the fun factor to Alexa. Test your kingly or queenly credentials with a series of scenarios that require yes/no answers and see how popular you can become… before it goes inevitably and hilariously wrong.
5. Escape the Room
Escape room games have become hugely popular in recent years, so it makes sense that the experience has come to Alexa. Escape the Room offers four locked-room situations of varying difficulty and invites you to try and escape in as quick a time as possible, using simple look, inspect and use commands. Enjoyable on your own, it’s even more fun with friends and family.
6. Sleep and Relaxation Sounds
If you need a gentle nudge to help you off to the land of nod, or just need to up the chill factor, the not-so-imaginatively titled Sleep and Relaxation Sounds is ideal for you. It offers over 75 high-quality ambient sounds to help you sleep better, relax, meditate, study, or just create a general aura of calm. Which, in today’s hyper-busy world, is never a bad thing.
7. Wiki Brains
We’ll open up with a caveat: Wiki Brains doesn’t have all of Wikipedia’s articles to hand. However, it does know many of the 5,000 most-accessed pages on the English Wikipedia site, so when you’ve really got to know about gravitational waves, you know what to do. (If you don’t, just say: “Alexa, ask Wiki Brains about gravitational waves.”)
8. I’m Bored
A simple one, this: if you’re bored, enable the skill and simply say “I’m bored”. Before you know it, Alexa will have responded with an interesting fact that you can use to wow your friends with at your next soirée.
Keep up to date with your fitness goals with a simple voice command to your Fitbit skill. You can check how your fitness plans are progressing, how many steps you’ve taken, how well you slept last night… anything your Fitbit can do for you can be accessed via Alexa.
10. Brain Ninja
Need to give your brain a daily boost to help with your productivity and keep your memory sharp? Then have a crack at Brain Ninja’s daily maths and memory challenges. The maths task gives you 90 seconds to get as many questions right as you can, rewarding you with various ninja belts in the process (big incentive, right?). Whilst the memory challenge gives you a new list of items every day and it’s up to you to remember as many as you can in the right order.
So, there we have it. Ten top ways in which your Alexa can entertain you, educate you and make your life easier. Leaving you with a mere 29,990+ other skills for you to explore…