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Echo Dot Features You Might Not Be Using: Put Alexa to Work


Amazon's smart speaker was released on November 6, 2014. If you don't believe me say, "Alexa, how old are you?" She will tell you that she is six years old.

By now, most households have an Echo Dot that started out with the first generation and is now up to the fourth generation. Some households have more than one. Even so, some people fail to use all the features the smart speakers offer. It's time to take Alexa off unemployment and put her to work.

What is a Smart Speaker?

Over 39 million Americans own a smart speaker. So, what is a smart speaker? A smart speaker is a voice command device with a virtual assistant that answers your questions and responds to your requests. Amazon is not the only company that makes and sells smart speakers, but it is a popular company to buy one from. Therefore, this article is centered around Amazon's Echo Dots.

To get Amazon's virtual assistant's attention, you call her by her name just as you would call a person's name. Alexa is her name. She never sleeps, gets tired, or becomes ill. She is always available to quickly respond to your voice or to the voice of anyone in your house. If you have your television on and Alexa hears her name, she will respond. So, be careful who calls Alexa's name because as soon as she hears it, she will respond.

There are thousands of commands Alexa responds to. Unfortunately, owners use only a few of them. Alexa wants to assist you in every area of your life.

When Amazon notices that someone is not putting their virtual assistant to work, the company will contact you with suggestions because Alexa doesn't like being bored.

Evolution of the Echo Dot

Amazon was already working on an upgrade while designing its first smart speaker. After the first Echo Dot was released on November 6, 2014, the second generation was being designed. Today, there are four generations available along with various upgrades and accessories.

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation)

Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Generation)

Start Out With a Basic Smart Speaker

After you are comfortable with the Echo Dot (3rd generation), you might want to upgrade. Amazon has a long list of choices. The shape of every generation is different.

The Echo Dot (3rd generation) seems to be a popular model. Two years ago, the speaker was unveiled with a fabric covering that is shown in the photos on this page.

Amazon's SVP of devices and services, Dave Limp, reported that over 100 million Alexa-enabled devices had been sold, and the Echo Dot has been among the company's top-selling products for the last three years, and the sales are not decreasing.

About the Echo Dot

This writer recommends the Echo Dot (3rd generation) because of its versatility, shape, and size. It can be mounted on a wall or put into small spaces such as on a desk, table, or nightstand because it is compact and looks like a hockey puck. It is beautifully designed with a fabric that comes in four colors: charcoal, gray, sandalwood, and plum. Teenage girls favor the plum color.

  • Echo Dot Generation 3 has a richer and louder sound than the Echo Dot Generation 2.
  • Alexa is able to play music, answer questions, read the news, check the weather, set alarms, control compatible smart home devices, and more.
  • You can use connected devices along with your Echo Dot to control your smart home. Tell Alexa to turn on lights, adjust thermostats, lock doors, and more.
  • You can connect with others without using a telephone. You can call almost anyone hands-free.
  • You can make announcements in your own house to others in the house.
  • Alexa has tens of thousands of skills, and she is getting smarter day by day. She wants you to find out how smart she is by asking her almost anything. She is not ashamed to say if she doesn't know something.
  • When you say, "Alexa" a blue ring comes around the device. The Echo Dot has a yellow ring around it when Alexa wants to give you a notification such as the delivery of an Amazon package or when Alexa wants to suggest features that you are not using.
  • Alexa will read to you whether it is a verse or chapter from the Bible, an audiobook, or a recipe.
  • Alexa will talk to you when there is no one else around. Say, "Alexa, I love you!" Then hear her warm response.

Let This Echo Dot Be Your First One

What the Echo Dot Can Do

The Echo Dot (3rd Generation) is reasonably priced. It has thousands of features. Most of them are not used. Let's change that.


If you want to hear music, simply say, "Alexa, play songs by Michael Bublé or one of your favorite singers." She will not hesitate to begin playing songs from Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, Sirius XM, iHeartRadio, and others. Say, "Alexa, stop!" when you are ready to end the music.

Foreign Languages

Let Alexa help you with foreign languages. She is fluent in many of them.



Ask Alexa for the time and weather. Set an alarm for her to wake you up in the mornings or even when you take a nap during the day. You can set timers for other things.

If you are in the mood for a joke, ask Alexa to tell you one. She can tell you a joke in your favorite comedian's voice. For instance, say "Alexa, tell me a joke in Jimmy Fallon's voice." She will not disappoint. Fallon will give you a joke courtesy of Alexa.


If you have two or more of the same smart speakers throughout your house, you can use them as an intercom. For the Echo speakers, the word to use is "Announce." You can say, "Alexa, announce that dinner is ready."


Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on December 26, 2020:

Louise and Cheryl, I debated about getting one for a long time because I rationalized that it was unhealthy to be talking to a device. When Amazon had an Echo Dot at a reasonable price, I got a gray one for myself and a plum one for my 14-old granddaughter. We are enjoying them and using many of the features.

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on December 26, 2020:

I don't have one.

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on December 26, 2020:

Well, I do have an echo dot, but the speaker broke in it. I did, however, get an Echo Show and love it!