Alexa can now offer gardening tips, be your personal sommelier and tell a friend to call 911 when you’re in trouble
If there’s anything you need, don’t hesitate to ask.
Alexa has become more than just a voice-activated virtual assistant that plays music on command or gives the local weather forecast. In fact, there’s not much that Amazon’s artificial intelligence-enabled gadgets can’t do now.
With nearly 50 million people owning a smart speaker, according to TechCrunch, and Amazon selling tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices during the 2017 holiday season alone, it’s no surprise that Alexa’s skill set is constantly evolving.
These are 10 of Alexa’s best hidden talents:
She just developed a green thumb thanks to SmartPlant, the award-winning plant and pest identification app. So now when you ask Alexa, “Add snake plant to my garden,” or “How often should I water my tomatoes?” — she’ll help you out, and even offer to take you to Amazon’s expanding online plant store.
If you’re single and ready to mingle, Alexa’s prepared to be your wingwoman (or man). If you’re unsure about whether or not you should kiss on your first date, ask Alexa — you might not like she has to say, but she’s prepared to answer. When you ask her, “What if they want to have sex?” her answer will likely be, “If you do too, do them. If you don’t, do you.”
The camera-equipped Echo Look gives Alexa the ability to weigh in as your personal stylist. Using the Style Check feature to compare two potential outfits, she gives you feedback based on fit, color, styling and current trends to pick the most flattering look.
Being able to tell a good joke is a skill many people lack. But thanks to Alexa, learning how to make people chuckle just got a little easier. Ask her to tell you a joke, and then all you have to do is remember it!
The Ask My Buddy app enables people to call for help without having to wear a button around their neck — or, more importantly, requiring them to reach for a cell phone if it’s out of reach. Just ask Alexa to alert any of your contacts, and one of them can call 911 on your behalf.
Go ahead and fire your personal trainer if you have an Alexa device, because with the free 7-Minute Workout app, she can guide you through body strength exercises you can do at home, such as push-ups, lunges, squats and more.
TELLING BEDTIME STORIES
If you’ve run out of “Once upon a time” stories to tell your kids at bedtime, defer to Alexa’s free vault of original tales, “Joy Teaches Kindness”, which you can also tailor to your child specifically. Set up an account at bedtime.webguild.com and then ask her to regale you with an elaborate fictional narrative.
When you need to communicate something to someone using a language other than your own, it turns out the multilingual Alexa can translate your message into 36 languages. Ask her to slow down or speed up if you’re unable to understand her, or ask her to repeat what she’s saying to make sure you’re able to get the message.
Just because you like drinking wine doesn’t mean you know what kind pairs best with a leg of lamb. With the MySomm app, Alexa, who you now address as “Wine Gal” can recommend the proper vino to go along with your swordfish, seafood pasta or your grilled sausages.
READING THE NEWS
If sitting down to read the paper or online headlines proves tricky for your busy schedule, Alexa can deliver daily news updates from a variety of outlets, including NPR, BBC, The Washington Post, CNN — and, of course, Moneyish, using Flash Briefing.
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