The Amazon Echo can do a lot of useful things, but its built-in features are just the tip of the iceberg. With Alexa Skills third-party features, you can add additional features to your Echo, such as adding events to your Google calendar and even ordering pizza.
RELATED:How to control your Amazon Echo from anywhere in the world using your phone
There are thousands of third-party Alexa skills you can enable for your Amazon Echo, and the number continues to grow. But not all of them are worthy of your time. And while many of them include fun but useless little features, there are a few more useful ones. Here are a few of Alex’s third-party skills you should check out.
How to Add Skills to Amazon Echo
First, before we dive into showing you what we think are some of the best Alexa skills to install, it’s important to know how to add Alexa skills to your Amazon Echo in the first place. To get started, click on the menu button in the top left corner of the screen in the Alexa app.
Select «Skills» from the list.
Click inside the search box at the top where it says «Search All Skills» and enter the name of the Alexa skill you want to install. Then click on the search button on the right.
If you’re not looking for a specific Alexa skill, you can also just scroll down to view them, or click on «Categories» to narrow the field down a bit.
When a skill appears, click on it to open it and see more information about it.
From there, click on «Enable Skill» to add the Alexa skill to your Amazon Echo.
Depending on which Alexa Skill you are installing, you may receive tooltips such as allowing Alexa Skill to use your location. Or, you may be redirected to a new screen where you will need to sign in to your account associated with the Alexa skill you installed (such as Lyft).
Once the Alexa Skill is installed and enabled, a «Disable Skill» message will appear, which means you’re done!
Seven Third-Party Alexa Skills to Try
You can search Amazon’s huge library on the Alexa app and discover Alexa skills yourself, but here are some of our favorites to get you started.
Domino and Pizza Hut
RELATED:Domino’s pizza sucks, so why can’t anyone beat their technology?
Have you ever dreamed of ordering pizza by voice? And we’re not talking on the phone, but with a virtual assistant like the Amazon Echo. Domino’s and Pizza Hut both have the Alexa skill to do this.
You will need to make sure that you have accounts created in any establishment, as well as the address and payment method entered. However, you can view menu items and order pizza directly from Echo without lifting your finger.
The only downside? You eat dominoes and pizzeria.
You probably know how to make the most basic cocktails, but you may need a little help with more advanced things. The bartender has all kinds of drink recipes for you to browse.
All you have to do is say «Alexa, ask the Bartender to make a Grasshopper». Alexa will tell you the ingredients, quantities and instructions for making the drink. You can also search for drinks based on the ingredient you want to use, or just ask the Bartender to surprise you with a random cocktail.
RELATED:How to get more detailed weather information from Alexa
Alexa’s default weather reports are great if you just want to know the basics, but Big Sky can inject a heavy dose of steroids into Alexa’s weather forecast.
Obviously, you can only ask Big Sky for a basic forecast, but if you want more details, you can say something like «Alexa, ask Big Sky what’s the humidity» or «Alexa, ask Big Sky what the temperature will be at 5pm » ,
You’ll need to create a Big Sky account once you’ve turned on Alexa Skill, as well as sign in to your location and choose from several settings, but you’ll be up and running in no time.
Need to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom? Night Light is an Alexa skill that allows you to turn on a glowing blue ring on your echo at any time.
Just say «Alexa, open the Night Light» and the blue ring will light up. Sure, it wobbles a little, but it should give you enough light so you don’t trip over anything.
If you want to turn it off, just say «Alexa, stop» or press the «Wake» button on the Echo. You can also turn it on for a specific time by saying «Alexa, open Night Light for two minutes».
If you’re a big podcast listener, AnyPod is arguably one of the best Alexa podcast-related services you can use.
Once turned on, just say «Alexa, ask AnyPod to play this American life.» You can also fast-forward and rewind podcasts by a certain length, and subscribe to podcasts you like.
You can even be broad in your podcast searches, so saying something like «Alexa, ask AnyPod to play Alec Baldwin» will tell AnyPod that you’ll probably want to listen to «Here’s to Alec Baldwin.»
7 minute workout
The 7-minute workout is extremely popular and consists of several high-intensity exercises that take only seven minutes to complete. With the Alexa Skill 7 Minute Workout, you can have the Amazon Echo take you through your workout without spending time on your own.
All you have to say is «Alexa, start your 7-minute workout» and you’ll be through all the exercises. Alexa will wait for you and ask if you are ready for the next exercise, which is nice.
If you want to know how to pronounce a certain phrase in a certain language, you can quickly like Alexa using Translated . Just say «Alexa, ask for Translate to tell you where the break room is in Spanish»
You can also tell Alexa to «slow down» if you need to hear the translation more closely, or simply ask her to «repeat» and she will repeat the translation.
Translated supports a huge list of languages, including fairly obscure languages such as Catalan, Welsh, Basque, and more.