Amazon's Echo voice assistants have gone from the expensive gadget trick to the perfect storage device. So you probably were not surprised to see one of these clever speakers with your name on it. Well, maybe I'm a bit surprised.
Echo is the perfect first step or addition to a smart home, and tapping into some of its lesser-known features can lead you from a smart skeptic to convert faster than you think.
Stop saying "Alexa"
Fortunately, if you have a friend or family member with a name that sounds like "Alexa," you can change the "activation word" that activates your new voice assistant. Download the Alexa app for your smartphone and navigate to the Devices tab. Select "Echo and Alexa," choose your Echo device, and then select "Wake Word." You can choose from Alexa, Echo, Computer and Amazon. Although it is an admittedly limited selection of options, you will be happy to get rid of any false positives and feel like a Star Trek character whenever you say "Computer."
Get your echo to read to you
Linking your Echo device to your Amazon account does more than customize your experience. It links your Echo to content you've already received from the company. So when you're trying to relax at night, your Echo can read a story from your Audible content library. You can also set the sleeping timers so that your book ends as you step back to the ground to read it.
Get Acquainted with Alexa Skills
Voice assistants can tell you about the time, turn on the lights and alert you about a marked appointment. But with the help of third-party developers, your Echo device can get a lot more interesting and fun when combined with the right Alexa skills.
Alexa Skills is essentially an application that you can activate on your Echo and includes offers like trivia games, meditation timers and news from major stores. You can start by asking your Echo device to "help me get started with skills". Use the skills to learn a new word every day, play a round of Jeopardy !, or even find your phone when you lose it.
Give everyone a voice
It is your gift, but everyone in your household can benefit from your new Echo by giving each person their own personalized experience. You can ask your Echo to "learn my voice," then spend a few minutes repeating what your Echo says.
Teaching the Echo to your voice means that you can send and receive private messages, ignore the previously heard news and ignore the voice code of purchases required for voice purchases. If you are a member of an Amazon Household, you can also link your services to the echo device in question.
Use Alexa for quick decisions
Need an unbiased tie-breaker between you and your siblings over the last slice of pie? Even if you are not a fan of voice assistants, turn off your lights, lock your doors, start your movies or plug in your microwave, you can always use your Echo for the little things. Ask him to throw a coin, give him a random number between the two he chooses, or throw stone, paper and scissors to see who is sitting.
Whisper Mode is your late night home helper
Voice assistants are not the best to stay calm, especially if you turn up the volume to hear something earlier in the day. You can stop yelling when you are trying to reduce the noise level by activating the Echo Whisper mode. Ask your device to "activate Whisper Mode" and it will decrease the volume and speak to you, well, in a whisper.
Delete your stupid questions
It does not matter if you are concerned that the generated voice data is mismanaged or if you do not want a record of your question if a pound of feathers weighs more than a pound of bricks, take control of your data excluding yourself.
Visit the Amazon site and check out the Alexa Privacy section on the Contents and Devices page. There you will see a list of all the questions your Echo has recorded and you will have the option to delete everything from start to finish. Better yet, you can clear history and manage access from another smart home device and Alexa Skills that you may have overlooked as well.