Tips & Tricks

What can Alexa do: top skills and commands

Alwin Wong
|
February 4, 2020

What Can Alexa Do: Best Skills & Commands for your Echo Assistant (2020)

Alexa. Amazon's voice assistant.

No, she's not the 'girl next door' you've been hoping for...because she's so much more.

In general, voice-assisted technology has already been widely adopted - with over 100 million Alexa devices sold since the beginning of 2019 alone. Yet, the platform and the industry itself is prepared for further exponential growth.

By 2023, Juniper Research estimates that there will be up to 8 billion digital voice assistants in use worldwide - a 3x jump in our current market.

While the voice industry is burgeoning,  there is still a lot of growth to be had. For one, though these devices' capabilities have improved with the likes of new skills and improved speech recognition, usability is a continued area of focus.

Based on PWC's Voice Revolution report, users are generally unaware of the advances that these devices have made. Because of this, most consumers have stuck to baseline tasks and commands when communicating with their smart devices.

But here's the thing...there's so much more to ask of Alexa than, 'What's the weather today?' When used to its full potential, the best apps for Alexa (known as skills) have the ability to enrich our daily lives.

The world of Alexa skills is still young, but, already there are independent developers making a living off building Alexa skills. And more recently, Alexa skills have gained the ability to sell monetizable content.

The goal of this guide

Good Alexa skills capture the attention and imagination of their user. They utilize strong conversational design, great content, and the perfect use case.

But whether you want to learn cool Alexa tricks or find the best Alexa skills for kids, there are distinct use cases that has its place for each user or household.

So as passionate users ourselves at Voiceflow, we wanted to share some of our top rated Alexa skills that we use on a day-to-day basis and demonstrate how others can best take advantage of their voice assistants!

*If you own a Google-enabled product, not to worry! Check out our guide on the best Google Home mini features and actions.

From becoming your office manager to controlling your smart home, here are the top Alexa skills and command to turn your Alexa from a voice-assistant to a personal assistant. Let's get started!

💡HOT TIP: How to install an Alexa Skill

If you already know the skill that you would like to install on Alexa and are nearby your Alexa-enabled device:

  1. Use the wake word to activate the device; ex. "Alexa", "Echo"
  2. "Enable [insert skill of choice]"
  3. Once a skill has been enabled, you do not have to re-enable the skill to use the next time you use it.
  4. Note: You can uninstall an Alexa skill by uttering, 'Alexa, disable [insert skill to uninstall]

You can browse through all Alexa skills via the Alexa App or on Amazon's website.

Yahoo Fantasy Football

When enabled, this skill allows you to manage and coach your fantasy football team to the top of your league! Curious about how your team is doing?  Ask Alexa for all the latest updates and news on your players, matchups, and scores.

If you find yourself needing a competitive advantage over your competition, this skill is for you - never again will you forget to set your team's lineup for the week!

The fact that I can be my fantasy lineups while I'm stuck doing chores on a Sunday afternoon is great. I can get all of my player and matchup updates making this one of the top rate Alexa skills in my book!

Rob, Product Manager @ Voiceflow /  Part-time coach for the Mahomes Alone Fantasy Football Team 🏈

Pikachu Talk

Sure, Canada's sweetheart in Ryan Reynolds voiced a great Pikachu detective...but have you ever wondered what it would be like to relive your childhood dreams and have an actual conversation with Pikachu?

Pikachu Talk allows users to do just that. Just ask one of our developers:

I really like to get into the Pokemon mentality before going out to play Pokemon Go with the crew! From telling funny stories to singing 'Happy Birthday' - if you're a kid at heart, this has to be one of the best Alexa skills!

Josh, Full Stack Developer @ Voiceflow / Gameboy Pokemon Master...name any color and he's mastered it 🕹

The Economist Espresso

Online media publication - The Economist - has also made the jump to voice-assisted technology. The enablement of this skill offers quick and informative briefings on news from around the world.

With a cup of joe in hand, stare out into the world through the morning dew glazed on your window,  and tune in. For the learned reader who would rather catch up on the news screen-free, Espresso provides the latest global agenda, outlooks on business, politics, and what to make of it.

Getting a daily briefing of 5 articles keeps me in touch with current events and gets the day started with thought-provoking intrigue, making this one of my favorite skills on my Amazon Echo right now!

Tyler, CTO @ Voiceflow  / Man of mystery and proud owner of a mahogany bookshelf 🧐

Jeopardy!

Another top rated Alexa skill that pays tribute to our nostalgic upbringing. The classic game show, Jeopardy!, can now be played in the comfort of your own home.

Although Alex Trebek may not be hosting the game from your living room, he'll be proud to know that you're practicing your game show skills. Best of all, Jeopardy! is a multiplayer game great for entertaining guests!

I really like it because I always watched Jeopardy! growing up and now I get the true Jeopardy! experience anytime I want. I especially like playing Sports Jeopardy! on Sundays.

David, Growth Engineer @ Voiceflow / Aspiring Game Show Host 👨🏻‍💼

Song Quiz

Song Quiz is rated one of the top 10 Alexa skills based on reviews found on Amazon's website and for good reason. With what seems like thousands of songs in their music database dating back to the 60's, are you able to guess the titles and artists of your favorite songs?

Challenge your friends, family, or loved ones to a friendly game of song quiz to see who can earn the most points for naming the correct songs!

This is by far my go-to Alexa skill, especially when I have a date night at home - what better way to impress a lady than to show them my deep knowledge of 70's music. Half game, half wingman...this skill helped me find my girlfriend.

Mike, Product Lead @ Voiceflow / Date Mike 😎

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Headspace: Guided Meditation for Everybody

Headspace is one of the most popular meditation apps on the market. So it's no surprise that it's also a big hit on voice-enabled devices. Especially for those who want to get into a mindfulness routine without having the distraction of your phone, this skill is it.

Whether you're just waking up or having trouble falling asleep, Headspace's guided meditations can help you calm your mind.

Since moving back to Toronto from San Francisco, Headspace has made the transition a lot less stressful. If meditation and mindfulness falls into the 'West Coast' stereotype...get me a kombucha and sign me up! 'Alexa, ask Headspace for today's meditation' is one of the best Alexa commands that I use on a daily basis.

Alwin, Senior Marketing Manager @ Voiceflow / Talks about Burning Man but has never been 🧘🏼‍♂️

There you have it. These are our personal picks for the top Alexa skills that can make your life a little bit easier. Is there a skill that you think should be on the list? Let us know! We'd love to hear your feedback.

Perhaps there's a particular skill that you don't see available. If that's the case, easily create an Alexa skill of your own using Voiceflow! Absolutely no coding is necessary to design, build, and prototype your Alexa Skill.