What can Alexa do for you?

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - During the holidays, Amazon's Echo Dot was the top-selling Amazon device and the top-selling product available from any manufacturer on Amazon. With millions sold, it's a good bet you've got one sitting on a counter in your home. But are you using the digital voice assistant to its fullest potential?

Alexa is the name Amazon has given its personal assistant. Every time you say the name, your device will be listening and waiting for your command.  Whether you have the original Amazon Echo shaped like a mini tower or the much smaller Amazon Echo Dot, they work the same. The bigger original tower just has a better, louder speaker. The Echo Dot can connect to Bluetooth speakers in your home. 

If you purchased your device through your Amazon account, it was likely already linked when Amazon shipped it to you. If you received it as a gift, you will have to connect it to your account. 

First, install the Amazon Alexa app  on your tablet or smartphone. You can do this on Androids or Apple devices. Through the app, you can answer prompts about your preferences for news, music and whether you want to allow your Alexa to order products on Amazon using only voice commands. You can change your preferences anytime or add new devices you want to pair with Alexa on the app settings.

You will be able to ask your Alexa just about anything you would ask Google. 

When Davis asked "How many ounces in a gallon?," Alexa replied "One gallon equals 128 fluid ounces." 

Playing music through Alexa

Alexa will play music for you. You can request specific songs or genres, like, "Play 80s hits." Sometimes, Alexa will tell you that it does not have a song available that you've requested. In those instances, it may play a 30-second sample of the song. Alexa supports a growing number of free and subscription-based streaming services on Amazon devices. To see which services are available, in the Alexa app, select music, video and books.

You can ask Alexa to stream music and media through one or more of your Alexa devices. After you register an Alexa device to your Amazon account, you automatically have access to your Amazon Music library and your Audible library.

Other services may require you to link an existing account or subscription to your Amazon account in the Alexa app. To learn more, go to Link a Third-Party Music Service to Alexa. 

Alexa will also tell you a joke. Just say, "Alexa, tell me a joke."

She can also make your life easier by creating to-do lists or shopping lists. Just say, "Alexa, add eggs to my shopping list." When you open your smartphone or tablet, whichever devices you have connected to the assistant, you will see the list. 

You can sync Echo to your lights and your thermostat so you can control them with your voice. This won't work until you modify light switches and lamps to be wi-fi controlled. You must install an Alexa-compatible light switch. Then you enable the skill through your app. You can enable all sorts of skills. Skills are voice-driven capabilities that enhance and personalize your Alexa. 

You can buy things from Amazon by simply saying, "Alexa, buy more paper towels." This skill can also be turned off through the app if you worry about other people in your home ordering items without your consent.

If you have the Uber or Lyft apps on your smartphone, you can summon a ride from either ride-sharing service through Alexa without ever opening the app on your phone. "Alex, request a ride through Uber." 

You can get your KPRC2 news fix by following these instructions:

You'll need an Amazon Echo device. Then log into your Amazon account and search 'KPRC' under Alexa skills.

Then add the KPRC2 weather skill, and the Click2Houston KPRC2 Houston News skill.

You can arrange both KPRC skills to be at the top of your skills list.

With your Alexa device on, just say aloud, "Alexa, tell me the news." Or "Alexa, what's my flash briefing?"

For weather, ask, "Alexa, tell me the weather from Click2Houston."

Then you'll hear the voices of KPRC2 anchors and reporters updating you with the latest news and weather.

And we've already got 5-star reviews on our skills, the highest rated skills in the Houston market!

Links to Amazon Alexa skills:

KPRC2 Weather

Click2Houston KPRC2 News

 

Copyright 2018 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.