Amazon’s Echo, Dot, and Tap offer “skills” for the virtual assistant Alexa. Skills are a lot like apps and allow the device to do things it wouldn’t otherwise be able to do right out of the box. For example, Alexa can search movie times and ticket pricing with Fandango or read your car’s fuel level with Automatic.
That being said, in this article we cover the top ten skills across a wide variety of categories that most users will get a use out of – including connected car devices, mindfullness, traffic updates, kitchen, and more.
1. 7-Minute Workout
7-Minute Workout is just that – a seven minute workout to help you increase metabolism, improve your energy, lower day-to-day stress, and remove excess fat. Whether you work out in the morning or just before your evening shower, 7-Minute Workout is sure to help you improve your health. How? Just say, “Alexa, start seven minute workout,” and make a daily commitment. The best part is it’s all based on simple, guided routines. Just follow along and push yourself.
2. Classical Study Music
This skill is different than anything Prime Music has to offer as it plays classical music that has been curated specifically for studying and for enhanced focus. Once you’ve enabled the skill, just say “Alexa, play Classical Study Music.”
If you own an Automatic adapter for your vehicle, you can see where you parked last, your driving history, and your gas level (if your vehicle reports fuel level via the OBD, and about 50% of cars do). Again, just enable the skill, and ask Alexa to get started.
4. Inspire Me
Inspire Me plays excerpts from speeches by famous people. This includes Steve Jobs, Will Smith, Michael Jordan, JK Rowling, and plenty of others. You can ask Alexa to “inspire me,” ask for a new speaker, or even ask for a specific speaker. It’s all bite-sized messages – usually only three minutes long.
Thrive offers an eight-minute meditation session, designed to play before bed. This session will help you rest easy and wake up refreshed. Just tell Alexa “Open Thrive” to get started. One downside, though, is that there is only one session that is currently available.
6. Magic 8-Ball
It’s for all the important questions life has to offer. “Alexa, ask Magic 8-Ball if I am going to be rich.” Seriously, just ask.
7. Ambient Noise: Thunderstorm Sounds
One of my personal favorites, Ambient Noise: Thunderstorm Sounds, is a great way to get to sleep quickly. Either with your Echo or your Dot connected to external speakers, the sounds offered are certainly realistic. The storm sounds are moderate and not enough to wake you when drifting to sleep. You can search in the Alexa app for more sound skills, including rain and ocean sounds.
8. Focus Word
Focus Word provides the user with a word and a corresponding phrase. It’s designed as something to focus on over the course of the day and also meant to implement it into your life in some way. Each day, ask Alexa, and she’ll provide a new word.
9. My Chef – Kitchen Assistant by Chefling
My Chef keeps track of expiring goods in your fridge and keeps track of inventory. You can even add expiring items to your shopping list. For those that like to cook, My Chef is a must have.
10. Capital One
If you bank with Captial One, you’ll be able to check account balances as well as make payments. You can even see how much you’re spending at specific stores and restaurants. Just summon Alexa and ask, “How much did I spend at Target last month?” or “How much did I spend at Starbucks yesterday?” Ready to pay the bills? Just say, “Alexa ask Capital One to pay my credit card bill.” It’s the 21st century way to bank.
Alexa and her skills are constantly evolving, every day. That stated, these featured skills will help you get set up with your new Alexa-enabled device and provide a level of usefulness that you won’t have right out of the box.