Alexa for Amazon Echo: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

May 29, 2017
Amazon Echo

Image: Amazon.com

Heard about the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Look or Echo Show and are curious as to just what it can do? First things first: get acquainted with the First Lady of voice assistants, Alexa, and all that she’s capable of!

What is Amazon Alexa?

The Amazon Alexa is your voice-controlled personal assistant who can help you with your day-to-day, from news briefings and music playback to fun games and smart home automation.

How do I install Amazon Alexa?

You have two choices: using the browser on your computer or downloading the Alexa app from the Apple App Store, Google Play, or Amazon Appstore. After you’re on the Alexa site or have booted up the app, sign into your Amazon account and plug your Echo into a power outlet.

The colored ring will load blue before turning orange, in which Alexa will great you with a warm welcome. Finally, follow the step-by-step instructions on the site or app to connect to your Wi-Fi network so that Alexa can access the world wide web!

How can I make Amazon Alexa work?

Alexa can be activated at any time by saying the wake word, which by default begins as simply “Alexa” but can be changed to any other word or phrase you like via the Alexa companion app. You’ll know when Alexa is listening when the Echo light ring turns blue – from here you can speak naturally and issue a variety of commands.

What can Amazon Alexa do?

Alexa comes preloaded with a number of commands, but these can be expanded upon by installing “Skills” – essentially additional apps and integrations – from the Amazon Skill store. Below are some examples of what Amazon Alexa can do out of the box:

Music & Audio

  • Play music from Spotify: “Alexa, play [music] on Spotify.”
  • Play an audiobook: “Alexa, play the book [title].”
  • Get song information: “Alexa, what’s playing?”
  • Play a radio station: “Alexa, play [radio station] on TuneIn.”

News

  • Receive a Flash briefing (news summary): “Alexa, what’s my Flash Briefing?”
  • Check the weather: “Alexa, what’s the weather like this week?”
  • Check the latest news: “Alexa, what’s the latest news?”
  • Get traffic information: “Alexa, what’s the traffic like?”

Sports

  • Receive the latest news from your favorite teams: “Alexa, give me my Sports Update.”
  • Check if certain teams won a game: “Alexa, did [team] win?”
  • Check scores of games: “Alexa, what was the score of the [team] game?”
  • Get updated on league standings: “Alexa, what are the MLB standings?”

Shopping

  • Quickly reorder items from Amazon: “Alexa, buy more shampoo”
  • Check out new Amazon deals: “Alexa, what are your deals?”
  • Be updated on new music to buy: “Alexa, shop for new music by [artist].”
  • Track Amazon orders: “Alexa, where’s my stuff?”

Movies, Music & More Information

  • Find the name of an artist: “Alexa, who sings the song [title]?”
  • Check the IMDb rating of a movie or show: “Alexa, what is the IMDb rating for [movie/TV show]?”
  • Find bars, restaurants, and cafes nearby: “Alexa, find me a nearby [seafood restaurant].”
  • Check movie times and what’s on: “Alexa, what movies are playing now?”

Search & Fun

  • Find out general information: “Alexa, how tall is Mount Fuji?”
  • Check up on Wikipedia: “Alexa, Wikipedia: [subject].”
  • Get quotes from movies, TV shows, and more: “Alexa, give me a [title] quote.”
  • Have Alexa tell you a short story: “Alexa, tell me a story.”

The list of pre-installed commands is exhaustive and constantly being updated – check here for more examples of the most useful and popular Amazon Alexa commands.

Amazon Echo Dot

Image: TheVerge.com

How do I install Amazon Alexa skills?

To install a skill, browse through the store using the Alexa app and tap “Enable” on the skill you’re interested in, or speak to Alexa directly by using the command “Alexa, enable [skill name] skill.” Whenever you want to open a specific skill, simply say “Alexa, open [skill name]”, and if you want to disable a skill, use the command “Alexa, disable [skill name] skill”.

What are the best Amazon Alexa skills?

Just like the Google Play and Apple App stores, the Alexa Skills store is packed with thousands of apps across more than 20 categories. To save you some time, we’ve compiled 100 of the best Amazon Alexa skills that help you get the most out of your Amazon Echo device!

Food & Drink Skills for Amazon Alexa

Games for Amazon Alexa

News, Weather & Sport Skills for Amazon Alexa             

Music & Audio Skills for Amazon Alexa

Movie & TV Skills for Amazon Alexa      

Tool & Utility Skills for Amazon Alexa  

Education Skills for Amazon Alexa

Health Skills for Amazon Alexa

Travel & Events Skills for Amazon Alexa

After even more Amazon Alexa? Check out our YouTube channel, where we review interesting, funny, strange, and useful skills for the Amazon Echo family!

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