Amazon's digital assistant can tell you the weather in space, deliver cheesy pickup lines, and help you make a better margarita.
Is there anything Amazon's Alexa can't do?
Okay, so the home assistant still struggles with things like string commands and the ability to distinguish between user voices. But everyone knows that the voice-controlled assistant — most notably found on the Amazon Echo, but also on the Dot and Tap — does excel at useful jobs like playing music, making grocery lists, and giving weather forecasts.
But if that's all you're using these gadgets for, you're missing out. We browsed the app's extensive Skills section to find 10 of the most useful, interesting, and fun things you didn't know Alexa could do. (Note: You'll have to be logged in and search the Skills section in order to find the apps mentioned below.)
Plan a Smarter Commute
Enable apps like BART Control, Toronto Transit, Times for MARTA, and many more to keep track of your local public transportation system. Don't feel like braving the crowds today? You can also use Alexa to call a Lyft or Uber.
Take a Bite of Bitcoin
The Skills tab is full of Bitcoin tracking apps, with CryptoCurrency and Bitcoin Price being two of the highest rated. If you're invested in tracking the volatile price of this digital currency, you might as well let Alexa do the legwork.
Mix It Up
With bartending apps like Patrón Tequila, Happy Hour, and Mixologist, you can expand your cocktail knowledge and impress people at parties. Or just learn how to make a mean margarita.
Roll the Dice (Digitally)
You can stop shaming your dice, as apps like Dungeon Dice, Adjudicator DiceBot, and Dice Bag now do the rolling for you. Little more than random number generators, these easy-to-use Alexa skills are ideal for tabletop gamers.
Out-of-This-World Weather Updates
Everyone knows that Alexa has tons of awesome weather apps for Earth, but that's boring. Use skills like Space Weather and Martian Weather to track storms happening outside our atmosphere. This isn't just cool info, by the way: Space weather can impact us in lots of ways, like interrupting radio and satellite communications.
Who has time to read the headlines when they're busy browsing DealNews for bargains all day? No one, that's who. Luckily, you can enable a flash briefing on Alexa. News outlets sampled include NPR, BBC, USA Today, Techcrunch, Associated Press, and many more.
Throw Me a Line
If you're looking for a laugh, both the Pickup Lines and Nerdy Pickup Lines skills come highly recommended by users. Less recommended: actually trying out the lines.
Just the Facts
A search of the keyword "fact" brings up an astounding 349 results on the Alexa Skills tab. Learn something new every day with tons of trivia games, quote generators, and general fact repositories. You never know when a random piece of minutiae will come in handy!
Work (Out) Smarter, Not Harder
Whether you're trying to lose weight or just stay healthy, there's a wide range of Alexa skills that are focused on fitness. Quickly go from flab to fab with 7-Minute Workout, change up your flow with Yoga Trainer or ALOP-Pilates-Class-Skill, or track your general progress with Fitbit.
Bring It All Together
Possibly the biggest benefit to Alexa is its ability to pair with IFTTT, a service that links apps and devices with specific actions. For example, this recipe will adjust your Nest thermostat to 71 degrees when you tell Alexa you're cold.
Marcy Bonebright is a contributing writer at dealnews. Republished with permission.