When science fiction writers envisioned artificial intelligence taking over our lives, they never imagined it would come from Amazon. Their voice-assistant, Alexa, has spread like wildfire.
Whether it is your vacuum cleaner
or your television, Alexa can use its voice recognition to tap into them all! However, we spend a huge part of our day connected to our phones. Therefore, no A.I.-powered takeover could be considered complete without it being connected to our phones.
Gone are the days when Alexa was available to only flagship phones. Now, it can seamlessly become a part of all Android devices. That means the thousands of third-party apps on your Android phone can use its voice search features.
Amazon’s voice-control system was named Alexa after Alexandria’s ancient library that is sadly now lost to us. All you need to have the power of search at your fingertips is an Echo smart speaker.
After that you may use it for a myriad of functions, some as simple as dimming the lights. Still, haven’t been riding the Alexa train? Find out about which devices are considered best Alexa-compatible
here to get started!
Considering holding out until you know what Alexa can do for you? The guide below mentions just some of the ways Alexa connects to various mobile apps to make your life better:
News and information
Why do you continue to juggle a handful of news channel apps and sources when you can have them all in one place? By enabling these apps to become a part of your Flash Briefing, you can get the kind of news you want, whenever you want it!
All you would need to do is search for Flash Briefing under the Settings section in your Alexa app. Edit the order in which the news sources appear to your liking. Or, remove content if some other channel catches your eye!
Here are some options available for Alexa-integration:
CNN Flash Briefing
breaking stories as you drive yourself to work or have your morning cup of Joe. Alexa’s built-in Flash Briefing feature will let you peruse the headlines without having to exit one app after another. What do you need to ask Alexa to get started? Just ask, “Alexa, what's in the news?"
For those with an eye on the global pulse, U.S.-focused news from the CNN doesn’t do much. But that’s okay because Alexa opens the door to world news from a trusted source, i.e., the BBC World Service
. When you want to find out what is going on in the world, just ask "Alexa, what's my Flash Briefing?"
Not a fan of the usual way news is delivered? Then how about the episodic vignettes from The New York Times! For just 15 minutes of the day, the podcast called The Daily
will bring you the breaking stories by Michael Barbaro. Enjoy!
Want to know what is new in the field of technology? Interested in scientific advancements? Alexa answers your wishes by linking you to the complete TED Talks
library. Stay up to date on the subjects of your choice by playing the latest TED talk. Looking for something specific? Then search for talks by topic and find the TED Talk you need.
Moreover, it is now possible to search for talks with a keyword of your choice. For a quick pick me up, say: "Alexa, ask TED Talks for a funny talk.”
Food and drink
Alexa users who love watching contestants whip up mouth-watering confections on cooking shows can rejoice now! Look up the skill Food Network
on your Alexa and start making some of those recipes in your kitchen.
With its help, you can look up for recipes from your favorite chefs. Besides that, it is equally easy to search for recipes that are based on particular ingredients. When searching on the go or on the way to the grocery store, you can have Alexa email or text the recipes to you. It makes grocery shopping for dinner much less stressful!
Alexa’s discovery feature is another treat for foodies. Called the Flavor Wheel, it spins a wheel of ingredients and flavors. When the wheel stops, you can search for recipes based on the flavor profile that it landed on. You can even cook with your favorite chefs and cooking shows by asking Alexa for recipes currently on-air.
A companion mobile app called Chefling
app can be used in conjunction with Alexa’s skill known as My Chef
. Sign up for a Chefling account by parting with your name and email. Once you have set up a password for that account, you can create grocery shopping lists of your own.
Since you can also enter the items that you have in your pantry, you will never run out of ingredients when you need them. This duo of apps also allows you to keep track of when the ingredients were added.
Want to know what can be made with the seemingly unconnected ingredients you have at hand? Go ahead and look for the recipes you can make! Alexa brings together recipes from your favorite websites like All Recipes and others, as well.
So, the eternal question of what to cook today is easily answered with Alexa on your side. What else can it do for you? How about getting Alexa to mix a drink for you? Believe it or not, the voice assistant also comes with The Bartender
If you have always wanted to try out a French Connection but never could find the time to look up the recipe, let Alexa be your personal mixologist. Just tell Alexa that you want it to ask The Bartender for it. You can also search for drinks that are made with sherry if that is the liquor closest to you!
If you want to be surprised, just direct Alexa to do that, and within seconds, you will have the drinks’ name, what goes in making it, and how it is made. This skill of Alexa’s is great for both regular and irregular drinkers, people who love throwing cocktail parties, or when you are feeling adventurous and want to try out different drink combinations.
It isn’t just the confines of your home where Alexa’s mobile app connections are handy. They are also useful when you are considering going out. Public transit being another of its skills, you can use Alexa to find out which trains leave when, whether there will be any delays and such.
Get information about the public transportation system closest to you within seconds. Even if you don’t find official skills created by the public companies to give you this information, you may still walk out the door armed with useful commute-based info!
Check out some skills servicing big public transportation networks:
Considering staying in but don’t feel like cooking? Simply ask Alexa to order food for you from GrubHub
. All you would need to do is link your account for both delivery service apps with Alexa and order food via virtual assistant instantly.
All the local restaurant food will be available to you. You can even reorder something based on your last few orders. Simply say, "Alexa, ask GrubHub to send my last order," confirm your delivery address, and your scrumptious food will be on its way to give your taste buds a treat.
Are you ready to let Alexa into your life? We sure hope so, because, with the pointers mentioned above, you can get the best out of this smart assistant!