Note: This is a guest post written by Charlie Peterson
You might know Alexa as the voice-activated assistant that can play music, answer questions, and set reminders. But Amazon’s ever-improving artificial intelligence can do much more than that. In collaboration with cyber experts Geonode, we’ve compiled a list of 20 lesser-known features that Alexa offers. Whether you’re looking to increase your productivity, add a bit of convenience to your life, or even keep your pets entertained, read on to find out how Alexa can assist you.
1. Alexa as a Pet Companion
If you’re concerned about your pets getting lonely while you’re out, Alexa’s Pet Companion feature can help. Activate ambient sounds or pet-friendly music to create a comforting environment for your fur babies. Some skills even offer interactive games that can keep your pets mentally engaged.
2. Whisper Mode
Apt for those times when you need to keep the noise down, Whisper Mode allows you to whisper commands to Alexa, which will then respond in a whispered voice. Ideal for parents with sleeping children or couples with different sleep schedules.
3. Brief Mode
If you find Alexa’s responses too verbose, Brief Mode minimises the chatter. Instead of a long confirmation message, you’ll hear just a simple beep or a short phrase, allowing for a quicker, smoother interaction.
4. Skill Blueprints
Make Alexa truly yours by customising its responses for specific scenarios or questions through Skill Blueprints. It’s a great way to personalise your smart home experience.
5. Email and Calendar Integration
Sync your email and calendar accounts with Alexa to get notifications of upcoming meetings, read out emails, and add events to your calendar—all hands-free. It can be a real timesaver for busy professionals.
6. Guard Mode
By enabling Guard Mode, Alexa becomes a makeshift security system for your home. It listens for specific sounds, like breaking glass or a smoke alarm, and alerts you if it detects something amiss, providing added peace of mind when you’re away.
7. Multi-room Music
With this feature, you can stream music across multiple Alexa devices throughout your home. Perfect for parties or creating a cohesive mood across different spaces.
Philanthropy becomes convenient with Alexa’s Donation feature. Choose an organisation, specify the donation amount, and confirm—all through simple voice commands.
9. Voice Profiles
By creating voice profiles for different family members, Alexa can offer personalised experiences like custom playlists, individualised reminders, and tailored recommendations.
10. Shopping List Collaboration
Alexa allows multiple users to add items to a shared shopping list. This communal list can be accessed by anyone in the household, ensuring everyone can contribute to and see what’s needed..
11. Sleep Sounds
To help you fall asleep, Alexa can play a variety of ambient noises like ocean waves, white noise, or a crackling fireplace. These calming sounds can be set on a timer to turn off once you’re asleep.
12. Drop-In Calls
This feature essentially turns your Alexa devices into an intercom system, allowing you to make direct calls to different rooms. Useful for summoning family for dinner or checking on a baby without entering their room.
13. Recipe Assistance
When enabled, Alexa can guide you through recipes, offering both ingredient lists and step-by-step cooking instructions. It can even convert measurements and suggest alternatives for missing ingredients.
14. Local Business Searches
Query Alexa for local businesses, and it will provide a list of options based on your location. Say you’re looking for a nearby pharmacy; Alexa can give you a list of options, including hours of operation and directions.
15. Currency Conversion
For travellers or anyone dealing with multiple currencies, Alexa can provide real-time currency conversion rates. Just ask, “How much is 100 dollars in euros?” and Alexa will give you the current rate.
16. Voice Remote
Alexa can control various smart TVs or devices connected through compatible hubs. Change channels, adjust volume, or pause playback—all through voice commands.
17. Voice Shopping
With proper security features like voice recognition or PIN confirmation, Alexa allows you to add items to your Amazon shopping cart and even complete the purchase using your voice alone.
18. Daily Briefing
Start your day informed and organised. By saying “Good Morning” to Alexa, you receive a rundown of the day’s weather, news headlines, and any events on your calendar.
19. Fitness Trainer
With this feature, Alexa can guide you through a series of workouts that range from quick stretches to more intensive exercise routines, making it easier to incorporate fitness into your daily life.
20. Translate Languages
Whether you’re trying to communicate with someone who speaks another language or you’re a student learning a new language, Alexa can quickly translate phrases or entire sentences for you.
While many of us are familiar with Alexa’s mainstream capabilities, it’s the lesser-known features that can truly elevate your experience. From adding convenience to enhancing safety, Alexa offers a wealth of options to enrich your daily life. So go ahead and explore these hidden gems—you might find they become features you can’t live without.