All posts in “Amazon Alexa”

16 of the best Alexa skills that we’re obsessed with right now

Amazon Alexa is the retail giant’s “personal assistant” that lives inside of every Amazon Echo and Amazon Fire TV Stick device. The smart digital assistant helps you with virtually any task, such as giving you weather updates or playing music, prompted simply by the sound of your voice. 

Just ask “Hey, Alexa!” and the device will wait for your command. While Alexa is pretty useful around the house, the assistant also has a playful side that can sometimes be downright weird. (Like remember that time Alexa started laughing for no reason? Yeah. Creepy.) 

And while Alexa can be useful — like with setting timers or telling you the headlines — it’s the more weird and wacky Alexa skills that we just can’t get enough of.

Here are 16 of our favorite Alexa skills, from the super cool to the downright weird and everything in between:

You can order a pizza with Alexa via the Domino’s app. After you set up a profile, which includes your name, address, preferred payment, and easy order, with the pizza chain and connect it with the Amazon Assistant, you can quickly order a pizza by saying “Alexa, order me a pizza from Domino’s.” Alexa will then confirm your order and let you know when it will arrive at your front door. 

The assistant will either reorder your last order with Domino’s, or use your easy order preferences, which is the menu items you pre-selected as your favorite. This can be something like a large pepperoni with cheesy bread and a two-liter of Sprite, for example. Amazon Alexa works with Pizza Hut too. 

Enable the Domino’s skill here and the Pizza Hut skill here.

Image: pixabay

If you’re an eharmony member, you can connect your online dating account to Amazon Alexa. Once connected, just ask “Hey Alexa, open eharmony” to activate. Now you can use the voice assistant to ask about all of your profile’s activities, such as “Hey Alexa, ask eharmony about my matches,” or “Alexa, ask eharmony who viewed my profile.” 

You can now think of Alexa as your “wingwoman” through the ups and downs of online dating.  

Enable the eharmony skill here.

Did you know that you can start a rap battle with Alexa? Because you can and it’s awesome. Alexa will start you off, and then it’s up to you to finish the prompts.

Alexa’s skills go further than just dropping a tight flow though. The Amazon digital assistant can also beatbox on command. Just ask “Alexa, can you beatbox?” However, sometimes she’s shy. Alexa will give up halfway through and say “I don’t think I’m cut out for beatboxing.”

Enable the rap battle skill here and the beatboxing skill here.

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What sounded like an April Fools’ joke, Skyrim for Amazon Alexa is completely for real. You can play a voice-enabled version of the very popular home console role playing video game. To enable, just say, “Hey Alexa, open Skyrim” to get started. 

Alexa will unfold the game for you and you simply react with your voice. Think of it as an old text-based RPG from the 1980s, only with Alexa’s voice instead. The game comes with a list of voice commands, such as cast a spell, swing a sword, or simply explore the world of Skyrim, as “you take your rightful place as the Dragonborn of legend.”

Learn more about how to play the role playing game here.

Although Alexa is good at playing podcasts, the service a bit limited because you can only ask for a show. If you want to maintain a subscription, or play a specific episode, Alexa can’t handle those capabilities alone. Enter: AnyPod. Connecting AnyPod with Alexa could be a great asset for the podcast obsessive. 

Just say “Alexa, ask AnyPod to play Slashfilmcast,” or “Alexa, ask AnyPod to subscribe to This American Life.” AnyPod treats Amazon Alexa like any podcast catcher app on your smartphone, so you can listen to the latest and greatest podcast episodes throughout your home.

Enable the AnyPod skill here.

Alexa, use the Force

Apparently, Alexa is a big Star Wars fan, but she’s no Jedi. The assistant has a number of skills for other Star Wars fans from trivia, quotes, and history about “a galaxy far, far away.” Trivia questions range in difficulty from “I’ve watched the movies a few times” to “I’ve read the Star Wars encyclopedia more times than I can count,” so it’s a fun skill for every type of Star Wars fan out there. Just ask “Alexa, play Trivia Game for Star Wars” to get the party started.

Alexa even has a “Tell Lord Vader” skill that quotes The Empire Strikes Back with you, if you don’t have a friend to help you out. In addition, if you command “Alexa, use the Force,” she’ll respond with “I’m sorry, but my Midichlorian count is too low.” (This skill comes pre-installed with Alexa.) Obviously, Alexa is also a big fan of The Phantom Menace because she has a skill for just Episode 1 facts too.

Enable the Star Wars trivia skill here.

Apparently, Alexa is a fan of Chuck Palahniuk and David Fincher, so if you ask “Alexa, what’s the first rule of Fight Club?,” the digital assistant will respond, “Don’t talk about Fight Club.” In fact, Alexa knows all eight rules of Fight Club.

Enable the skill here.

Image: “Uncertainty”/Nicu Buculei / FLICKR

In today’s cashless world, it’s sometimes hard to come by a coin to flip for tough decision making or to settle a bet. Alexa can do that for you, but just virtually. Simply ask Alexa to “Flip a coin” and the Amazon Assistant will give you a random “heads” or “tails” answer.  

Enable the skill here.

It seems that Alexa is a fan of Saturday Night Live because if you ask for “more cowbell,” the digital assistant will respond with “I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell.” Alexa might also answer with “Explore the studio space” or “Never question the Bruce Dickinson,” the character Christopher Walken played in the iconic SNL skit about Blue Oyster Cult and the making of “Don’t Fear The Reaper.”

Enable the “more cowbell” skill here.

Sometimes it seems that the developers at Amazon have too much time on their hands. If you ask Alexa to sneeze, she’ll say “You’re in luck! I can sneeze on command. Aaa-choooo!” 

You can also ask “Alexa, what is Pi?” and she’ll answer with “3.141592653589793238462…” She’ll also quit in the middle of reciting the number with a “Aaa-choo! Apparently, I’m allergic to numbers this large.”

And if you sneeze, just let Alexa know and you’ll get a reply saying, “Bless you.”

Enable the sneeze skill here.

Image: Pixabay

Did you know Amazon also owned IMDb? You can ask Alexa about any TV show or movie listed on the website, like “Hey Alexa, what is the IMDb rating for Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2?,” or Hey, Alexa, who starred in The Godfather Part II?” You can also use it for TV recommendations based on IMDb’s trending data each day.

Enable the IMDb TV skill here.

Image: pixabay

Believe it or not, Alexa can also help you sleep better. The key to a restful night’s sleep is a good bedtime routine. Your body has to wind down and prepare itself for sleep and Alexa can help.

Alexa has a number of commands for sleep, like creating playlists for bedtime, or playing a sleep machine of white noise that includes sounds of a calming rainstorm or the sounds of a tropical ocean. The Amazon Assistant can also guide you through relaxing meditation to help you chill out before bed. Just say “Alexa, nature sounds for sleep” and the assistant will do the rest (no pun intended). 

The assistant can also make bedtime distraction-free and allow you to stop looking at your smartphone, which can disrupt melatonin production that helps you naturally fall asleep. You can now charge your device in another room because Alexa could be your alarm clock with weather updates and schedule reader features built-in.

If you have kids, Alexa can create a good bedtime routine with charming lullabies and bedtime stories that can help the little ones fall asleep. 

Enable the bedtime skill here, the sleep and relaxation skill here, and the lullabies here.

If you’re a gamer, you’ll appreciate this weird Alexa command and super nerdy Easter egg. If you ask, “Alexa, is the cake a lie?,” she’ll respond with “The cake is not a lie. It is delicious and moist. You can have some when you finish asking me questions.”

This is a reference to the game Portal. The robot in control — GLADoS — entices you to finish exploring the test chambers of Aperture Science with the promise of cake at the end. However, when you come across an escaped scientist, he’ll inform you that “the cake is a lie.” There is no cake at the end of Aperture Science. Apparently, Alexa and GLADoS are good friends. 

While the cake skill comes pre-enabled, you should snag Portal here to really enjoy it.

Alexa has an unhealthy obsession with Chuck Norris, so if you ask “Where is Chuck Norris?,” Alexa will answer with “If Chuck Norris wants you to know where he is, he’ll find you. If he doesn’t, you won’t know until it’s too late.”

Alexa also has a number of Chuck Norris “facts,” like “If Jesus could walk on water, Chuck Norris could swim through land,” “If you work in an office with Chuck Norris, don’t ask him for his three-hole punch,” and much, much more

Enable the Chuck Norris jokes here.

Play a game with Alexa

Alexa features a number of fun games for just one person or an entire group, including choose-your-own adventures, mystery, trivia, and kid-friendly games. Alexa has simple games like Tic-Tac-Toe and Bingo, while there are also more complex games like Jeopardy! and Trivial Pursuit on hand. Alexa also has role-playing games like Dungeon Adventure

In addition, Alexa even has the ability to roll two dice at once, or a set of 15 20-sided dice, if you’re playing D&D and forgot your dice.

Enable the Jeopardy! skill here and the Trivial Pursuit skill here.

Image: Pixabay

Did you know Amazon owned the audiobook company Audible? If you have an Audible account, you can command Alexa to play an audiobook from beginning to end. It can even pick up from where it left off, if you were listening on the go on a mobile device. Simply ask “Alexa, read my audible book” and the Amazon Assistant will promptly fetch it for you.

You can even have Alexa read a Kindle Book, or anything you saved in your Kindle Library (like an article from Wikipedia) aloud. Just ask “Alexa, read my Kindle Book.” This is a particularly great skill for people who are visually impaired, the elderly, or anyone in the mood for a bedtime story.

Learn more about using the skill here.

Amazon wants to sell you two Echo Spots and take $40 off your total

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Saying no to saving $40 on two Echo Spots is just plain disrespectful.
Saying no to saving $40 on two Echo Spots is just plain disrespectful.

Image: amazon

Smart home hubs and security cameras have basically taken over the internet, and if you still haven’t gotten into that game, you’re probably having a hard time justifying the purchase.

Because yeah, you could just hope the pizza delivery guy isn’t up to no good and yeah, you could just keep getting up to turn off your lights when you’re already half asleep in bed. That’s fine.

Or, you could give your home a total glow up and grab an Amazon Echo Spot. And, if you buy two, you’ll save $40 and get them both for just $219.98 — a cheap price to make your home significantly safer.

One of only two Amazon Echo devices to have a touchscreen, the Echo Spot is sleek, spherical, and basically looks like a glorified Magic 8-Ball (in a cute way). The Spot’s built-in camera affords some super convenient visual features, like hands-free video calling to anyone who has the Alexa app on their smartphone. 

Image: amazon

Image: amazon

Named a Mashable Choice product in 2017, the Spot can also show recipe videos, flash video news briefings, music lyrics, and act as a visual clock or thermometer — because having to physically ask Alexa what time it is every single time is way too hard. The screen also allows you to take smart home controls to a whole new level, such as live monitoring of outdoor security cameras or baby monitors. (If anything, this will just help you sleep better at night.)

Of course, Alexa has all of the features that come with the other Echo devices: Use voice commands to control smart home tech like lights, locks, thermostats, and blinds, and use the Drop-In feature as a makeshift household intercom or to “drop-in” on anyone who has an Echo device without them having to answer.

Mashable’s Ray Wong claims that it’s “Amazon’s best balance of size, price, and features on an Echo smart speaker yet.” So they’re definitely worth paying full price — and while buying two would normally cost you $259.98, you can save $40 and get both for $219.98. Learn more here.

Amazon wants to give you a *free* Fire HD 8 Tablet with purchase of an Arlo baby monitor

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It's 2018 and we're smart-ifying everything, including the baby's room.
It’s 2018 and we’re smart-ifying everything, including the baby’s room.

Image: netgear

With Father’s Day coming up and Mother’s Day just happening a month ago, the shopping focus has been on parenting for a while now. And while new vacuums, tools, and all that other gift-y stuff is nice, one of the things a parent wants most in life (other than a drink and a nap) is knowledge that their kid is safe. 

No, we’re not suggesting putting a tracker on your kid like that crazy mom in Black Mirror — but we are suggesting grabbing an well-reviewed Arlo Baby Monitor to keep an eye out at all times. Amazon will throw in a free Fire HD 8 Tablet with purchase, which means you get both for $199.99.

Aside from having bunny ears and being the cutest thing in the world, the Arlo Baby Monitor is a serious must-have in any modern nursery. It’s made by Netgear, so it already has a trusted security camera reputation — but it’s also like, a 5-in-1 badass crib mobile (that doesn’t hanging over the bed). It’s equipped with a microphone, two-way audio, a 1080p camera, night vision, air quality monitors, a lullaby player, and a night light. Basically, it gives you the opportunity to comfort your crying newborn before you have to get out of bed at 4 a.m.

Image: netgear

We’re all about getting the baby started on smart home early, you know?

The Arlo Monitor is WiFi, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit compatible, so a simple voice command to Alexa or Google can switch your new Fire Tablet to a live view of the baby’s room. The monitor also features instant smart alerts, which will give your tablet or smartphone a ring if there’s any strange movement, air pollutants, or sounds in the baby’s room.

Amazon customer Billy West writes:

“The Arlo baby monitor is an amazing product. The quality is beyond what I expected. The picture displayed on your phone is in high definition. I not only can use this product to make sure my little one is safe but I also use it when we leave the house to keep and eye on my furr baby. The fact that I can add users to the app and allow my Husband, Mother, and In-Laws watch out does any baby monitor. The night light is convenient and the lullabies are perfect. With just a click on your phone everything is possible quickly and without having to get up. Love this product I would give it more stars if I could.”

As for the Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet, you’re getting a vibrant 8-inch HD display, up to 12 hours of battery life, 1.5 GB of RAM, an included durable case, and Alexa commands for video calls, launching apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Facebook.

Regularly, buying both of these separately would cost you $279.98. But with this bundle you can grab the Arlo Baby Monitor for $199.99, get the Fire HD 8 Tablet for free, and save $80. (That’s a lot of diapers.) Learn more and get the deal here.

Amazon has deals today on Fire TV Sticks and Echo dot, plus save up to $50 on Fitbit Charge 2

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Patio rugs, Amazon Fire Tablets, and DNA kits are also on sale.
Patio rugs, Amazon Fire Tablets, and DNA kits are also on sale.

Image: amazon/mashable photo composite

Father’s Day is less than a week away — aka Amazon is scrambling to make procrastinating gift givers’ lives slightly easier with tons of stuff is on sale that will allow Prime members to take advantage of Amazon’s free two-day shipping.

Dads are usually all about projects, and today’s deals can lend a hand on whatever he’s obsessing over this summer. Help him put his DIY projects into high gear by saving up to 50% on indoor and outdoor patio rugs from Gertmenian, or these heavy duty cast iron skillets are up for grabs if he’s a cooking guy. Snag him some wrist candy for any occasion by saving up to 65% on shiny watches from Invicta, and save up to $50 on the Fitbit Charge 2 or Ionic fitness trackers from Fitbit. If he’s really up on healthy living and weight loss these days, this digital scale from Etekcity can help him meet his goals.

Then, when he’s ready to admit that he’s tired and throw the towel in for the night, this two-pack of goose down alternative pillows from Sable will be his new best friend.

For the tech savvy dads (or dads you’re forcing to stop living in the Stone Age), multiple Amazon devices are on sale. Dad can enjoy hands-free Alexa and smart home control with the Echo or Echo Dot, watch for intruders (or the pizza guy) with the Amazon Cloud Cam, and control the TV during those nights falling asleep on the couch with the Fire TV Stick or Fire TV 4K Streamer. Plus, the Amazon Fire 7,  Fire HD 8, and Fire HD 10 tablets are also on sale.

Here are the best Amazon deals for June 11:

Home stuff

Image: invicta

Image: invicta

Outdoor stuff

Save on outdoor patio rugs from Gertmenian.

Save on outdoor patio rugs from Gertmenian.

Image: gertmenian

Amazon devices

The Amazon Echo is like getting an instant smart home upgrade.

The Amazon Echo is like getting an instant smart home upgrade.

Image: amazon

Amazon has the Fire TV Cube, Ancestry DNA, an Echo Spot 2-pack, and more on sale

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Memory foam pillows, Amazon Echo devices, and KitchenAid mixers are also on sale.
Memory foam pillows, Amazon Echo devices, and KitchenAid mixers are also on sale.

Image: amazon/mashable photo composite

Boring weekend ahead?

Hell no — not on Amazon’s watch. Their deals on Friday are hot. 

In many parts of the country this weekend’s gonna be a hot one, and you’re gonna be itching to get outside and into the water. (Start looking for a friend with a pool now.) We’ve got an Amazon’s Choice waterproof Bluetooth speaker on sale for $21, an underwater action camera, air mattresses for camping, SoundPeats earbuds for an early morning run, and a floating basketball game for the pool all discounted as well.

Amazon still has Vitamix blenders on sale, so you can whip up your own refreshing frozen desert instead of spending money on overpriced Italian ice. Then, when you’re done and exhausted, take a well-deserved nap with these well-reviewed gel memory foam pillows.

Important: Amazon’s brand new Amazon Fire TV Cube, the love child of the Echo and Amazon 4K Fire TV, is now available for pre-order. Today only, Prime members can get $30 off and get it for $89.99.

Here are some of our favorite Amazon deals for today:

DNA kits

Outdoor stuff

Image: swimline

Home stuff

Image: ring

Amazon devices

Talk to your TV with the new Amazon Fire TV Cube.

Talk to your TV with the new Amazon Fire TV Cube.

Image: amazon

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