You can download tens of thousands of Alexa skills for an Amazon smart speaker. And, even if you were to test all those somehow, it’d be nearly impossible to run out. Statistics indicate there were more than 1,500 new ones added in April 2018 alone.
But which Alexa skills are the most useful ones for your device to know? And how do the majority of the people who own Amazon’s smart speakers use those gadgets?
How to Teach Alexa a Skill
Fortunately, you don’t have to go through different processes when teaching Alexa skills to your compatible Amazon speaker. Just search for a skill through the Amazon site or Alexa app. Once you find one that looks interesting, click on it to pull up the skill details, then click “Enable Skill.”
Also, refer to the documentation about specific skills to learn how to activate them with voice cues that Alexa understands.
Now, here are six of the most popular Alexa capabilities you should try.
1. Getting Local Business Information
A study released in 2018 by Google about smart speaker user habits found 39 percent of users get business details from those gadgets. Although that research wasn’t restricted to Alexa and Amazon, it suggests people appreciate being able to learn about what’s open and other specifics by using voice commands.
By going to the Local category of Amazon’s skill list, you can find options that give you the scoop about businesses in your area.
2. Listening to Music or Podcasts
A survey conducted in May and June 2018 of approximately 909 smart speaker owners showed 45 percent of those who owned their smart speakers less than a year reported spending less time listening to the radio since purchasing those gadgets.
So, many people are following that trend by streaming services such as Spotify or Pandora through their Amazon smart speakers or using podcast-browsing apps to potentially replace the time spent listening to talk radio or news programs. When enabling more functions for your Amazon speaker, see what kind of audio adventures you might get into while using the gadget.
3. Setting Timers
Alexa can also set timers for users so that they don’t let food burn or forget to do time-sensitive things. A study published in June 2018 and evaluated the habits of users in the United Kingdom revealed that one in five depends on Alexa to time the boiling of an egg.
4. Scheduling Appointments and Other Obligations
If you’re trying to get more done, Alexa could become your new best — virtual — friend. It offers productivity helpers that read your Gmail messages and help you figure out what to cook for dinner. However, it also sticks to the basics and lets you add things to your calendar and avoid forgetting them.
Some medical practices offer an integration that permits setting up medical appointments with Alexa with a compatible app called Nimblr. At one eye surgery facility that tried the technology, the number of no-shows decreased by nearly 72 percent.
5. Asking Questions
Many of the best AI apps for Android help people get things done or find information for them. And, if they want to try and compete with Alexa, that’s not surprising.
A January 2018 study asked people about which of Alexa’s capabilities they used daily, monthly or had ever tried. In total, 33.3 percent of the people who responded said they asked questions to their smart speakers daily. Moreover, 91 percent had tried that skill, making it the most popular one people attempted.
6. Checking the Weather
Many people check the weather forecast to get guidance on what to wear and whether to bring an umbrella with them when they leave the house. So, it’s not surprising that they often turn to their smart speakers to get the weather-related scoop.
Research published in January 2018 by Adobe highlighted how 60 percent of people polled used Alexa to check the weather. Several third-party services exist that let individuals do that, meaning they can use their preferred company to find out the necessary meteorological details for the day.
Some Variation but Trends Are Still Evident
Depending on the study, there were some differences in the number of people using their Amazon smart speakers for certain tasks. For example, it was possible to find one study where a substantial percentage got business information from them, but the overall amount was sometimes less in other investigations.
However, all the activities on this list are ones that showed up repeatedly in research about how people interact with their smart speakers. As such, they show trending habits.
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