Krzysztof is a lifelong future tech junkie investigating the latest stories from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.
The Best Skills from Amazon Alexa
The Alexa app store is quickly growing with over 200,000 goofy, useful, and intriguing skills that can be voice activated through the Amazon Echo.
While most skills have little to offer, there are 25 great skills that everyone with an Echo product (Echo Dot, Echo Show, Amazon Tap) needs to enable to get the most out of their gadget.
Most skills can be enabled via voice (Alexa app access not necessary) unless account linking or permissions are required.
25. The Bartender + Patron Tequila
"Alexa, ask the bartender to pick a drink."
- Curated cocktail recipes including ingredients, portions, and instructions
- Search for drinks by their ingredient/s or get random recommendations
- Get cocktail making tips
- Requires age verification (21+ only)
- Not suitable for anyone under 21
- Ingredients and drinks may be inaccurate or spoken incorrectly
This is a terrific skill for cocktail lovers and for those summer festivities with friends and loved ones.
Both of these skills can provide you with recipes on how to make a variety of drinks with whatever products you have available. You can also learn tips and tricks on how to create the best drinks.
However be mindful that Patron Tequila requires you to verify your age by entering your e-mail address and age (21+ only), which is a bit odd considering it's just an app. You may also find that Alexa mispronounces some of the drink names and ingredients. From time to time she may also give you the wrong recipe.
Still, they're two handy skills that'll give Alexa's adult users something cool to shoot for.
"Alexa, ask the Bible App for the verse of the day."
- Includes the 11 most popular English versions of the Bible
- Professionally translated audio for NLT, NIV, ESV, and KJV
- Create custom reading plans with relevant scriptures for your mood
- Users complained of the voice that was used
- Skill doesn't always function properly
For the religious people among us, the Bible is a spiritual skill that can read scriptures based on your mood, give you the verse of the day, and narrate the Bible for you.
You can even customize your daily reading plans to the book (John) of your choosing, which presents itself as an audio-book version of the Bible.
Some users weren't happy with the melancholy narration voice, and others found it difficult to get the skill to work properly. Certainly this skill could use more updates, but I'm sure they're working on it.
I haven't seen as many faith-based skills in the Alexa app, so I'm glad they've included this one. Hopefully we'll see more of them, and from other religions, in the future.
23. Yes Sire
"Alexa, play Yes Sire."
- Interactive and engaging
- Easy to play
- Choice-based storytelling
- Not suitable for everyone
- Can get repetitive
- Expansion packs cost money
Yes Sire is one of the more engaging games you can play on your Echo devices.
In this skill, you're a medieval lord who has to make difficult choices with simple yes/no answers that will have grave consequences for your kingdom. The choice-based storytelling is a lot of fun with great interactive elements that'll keep you entertained.
Regrettably due to the suggestive/violent material, it's not suitable for all ages. The choices may also repeat after a while, which you can circumvent by buying additional in-game content via expansion packs.
The packs are slightly cheaper for Prime members ($2.5 vs. $3), but understandably not everyone will want to spend money on more material.
But even if you don't buy the packs, you'll still get a fantastic skill that'll amuse you and keep you occupied.
22. TED Talks
"Alexa ask TED Talks to play the latest talk."
- Access TED's huge library of talks and ideas
- You can pick and choose which category or topic you want
- You can pause, resume, and hear how long each TED talk will be
- Hit or miss search functionality
- Works better with visual cues
- TED Talks may be too long
TED Talks invoke some of the most inspiring and creative ideas in the world, and now you can search for your favorites through Alexa.
You can also pause, resume, and hear how long any talk will be.
My biggest gripe is that many talks work better with visuals, and they would make an excellent companion skill to the visual Echo Show, Fire TV Cube or Spot.
Additionally the search/filter settings are very poor and Alexa often misinterprets what you say, however; don't let that take away from the experience.
This is a terrific skill for students, educators, and anyone interested in ideas, inspiring stories, and more.
"Alexa, ask Translated to say hello in Spanish."
- Can translate short sentences from English into 36 other languages
- You can repeat or slow down the translation speed
- Best translation skill available
- More languages needed
- You must speak to Alexa in English to get translations
Translated is one of the most useful Alexa skills today with the ability to translate from English into 36 other languages.
The translations are easy to understand, may be repeated if you didn't hear them, and can be slowed down if she says them too fast. Unfortunately your origin language must be English for the skill to function and only 36 languages are currently translatable.
Despite those limitations, you won't find a better translation skill to use, and perhaps it'll be updated eventually to include more language support.
So if you're in the market for a quick machine translator, then Translated is the skill for you.
"Alexa, ask Fitbit how I'm doing today."
- Fast updates on a variety of stats
- Stats include steps taken, exercise goals, and sleep tracking
- Integration with the most popular/affordable fitness company.
- Problems with data syncing
- Additional features needed
- Must enable all permissions to get info
Fitbit's integration with Alexa and the Echo is a huge win for both products and the results are promising. Now you can ask Alexa on stats including weight, steps taken, exercise goals, sleep tracking, and more.
The biggest issue is that the skill lacks extra features that the app provides, and at times it struggles to identify & sync your Fitbit data. Also you must make sure all permissions are enabled before data can be accessed.
Regardless of the cons, this is still one of the best skills to date, and it has major potential going forward once those issues get resolved.
19. The 7-Minute Workout
"Alexa, start seven minute workout."
- Images and tutorials of exercises can be viewed in the Alexa app
- Ability to track finished routines and continue current/existing workouts
- Offers a variety of routines and sets when you need to burn a few calories
- Needs more exercise options and difficulty levels
- Only capable of short, high intensity bursts
It works effectively but its skill set is quite niche and may not be for everyone. The ability to perform a fast, fat burning workout is a major plus as is the tracking feature. Also existing workouts can be resumed and you're able to track finished routines.
The latest version now contains images and tutorials of your workout/exercises within the Alexa app.
This skill is a terrific entry in the fitness market especially when you consider the Echo's integration with popular fitness/wearable company Fitbit.
An alternate skill is called the "5-Minute Plank Workout" where you'll go through six different sets of this popular body core exercise.
"Alexa, ask AnyPod to subscribe to Joe Rogan."
- Access 1000's of podcasts
- Podcast playback controls (skip ahead, go back, next episode)
- Easy to use with numerous podcasts added daily
- Not all podcasts are available
- Alexa may not understand the exact podcast you wanted
This is one of the best podcast skills for Alexa with 1000's of podcasts available. Additionally you have full playback control with the ability to skip ahead, go back, play the next episode, play specific episodes, and manage your subscriptions.
And best of all, if your favorite podcast isn't on there, you can email the developer at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell them to include your podcast.
Understandably not all podcasts will be available, but the list grows daily. The biggest issue I've come across is that Alexa sometimes won't recognize the exact podcast you're looking for especially if it's a short title. Perhaps having Alexa read off a list of similar podcasts that you can then select from may be the answer.
Still, this is the most reliable podcast skill for your Echo devices, and I highly recommend it. Furthermore if you have an Alexa enabled car device, then it's great for listening to podcasts on the go.
17. Find My Phone
"Alexa, Find My Phone."
- Locates your lost phone
- Supports mobile calling to other numbers when added
- Quick and simple to use
- Doesn't always work
- Setup can be annoying
This is a great skill for anyone who has ever misplaced their phone. All you have to do is link your account, add your number, and ask Alexa to find your phone whenever you've lost it.
You can also add or delete extra numbers and tell her to call them. Remember that this skill only supports mobile numbers.
Find My Phone works well for the most part, but there have been times when Alexa says it can't be accessed right now. The setup also took a few tries before she was able to start calling my phone.
I've found this skill to be incredibly handy, and it utilizes Alexa's calling feature perfectly.
16. Yo Momma Jokes
"Alexa, tell me a Yo Momma Joke."
- Does what it's meant to do very well
- Offers numerous funny jokes for mass appeal
- Variety of "Yo Mama" one liners
- Not appropriate for all ages
- Very similar skills available
There are multiple "Yo Mama" joke skills currently available, and they all serve their purpose well with a variety of different one-liners.
Not all jokes are age appropriate but there is a family friendly version (by developer learyce) out there.
Because the invocation phrases are so similar, you may not always get the best Yo Mama skill, but I still think you'll find something to laugh at. This may not be the most profound or useful skill, but it gets your funny bone going and that's all we need sometimes.
15. Sleep and Relaxation Sounds
"Alexa, open Sleep Sounds."
- Over 50 high quality sounds that play on a loop
- Excellent sound machine replacement
- New sounds introduced on a weekly/monthly basis
- May not play certain sounds when asked
- Complaints about sound quality
Amazon Alexa's best collection of ambient noises that you'll find with standard ambient sounds like rain or thunderstorms to things like fireplace and airplane. There's over 50 quality noises that play on a loop.
You can also set up a timer for when you want the sound to stop playing, which makes for an excellent sound machine replacement. New sounds get introduced weekly/monthly but they don't all sound great sometimes.
Alexa may also not play every sound when asked but that shouldn't defer anyone who's in desperate need for a sound machine skill.
"Alexa, set the Living Room lights to warm white."
- Gives the ability to control lights, thermostats, security systems, etc.
- The most trusted smart home brand
- Compatible with LIFX, GE, iHome, Honeywell, ecobee, Kwikset, and more
- SmartThings hub required (unless you own Echo Plus)
- Overall cost of items can be very pricey
- Initial setup may be tedious
SmartThings is probably one of the best smart home hubs/products thus far with flawless integration with Alexa. You can control a multitude of devices including lights, switches, security systems, and thermostats.
You could also create scenes/routines to control multiple devices at once through Alexa groups.
The biggest drawbacks are the price of buying into the smart home ecosystem. You'll need a SmartThings hub before you buy their products (unless you own the Echo Plus), and the total cost of the hub and devices will be in the hundreds of dollars.
However if you're willing to forego the pricing issues, then this smart product is a must for any smart home.
13. The Magic Door
"Alexa, open the magic door."
- Choose from up to three different story settings
- Your choices change the outcome of the tale
- Excellent skill for children that delivers cool sound effects and immersion
- More story options needed
This skill unlocks a child's potential and explores their creativity with choices that affect the story. Similar to the Wayne Investigation app, real sound effects and your decisions tell the tale, however; it's not quite as immersive as the Wayne Investigation.
I wish there were more story options, but the ones available are still enjoyable. It's a great way to tell your children bedtime stories, and it's one of the best kids skills Alexa has to offer.
For more advanced and mature choice-based skills, check out Escape the Room or Dungeon Adventure.
"Alexa, start Akinator."
- Brings the creative, guessing app to your Echo
- Fun for everyone to try
- Alexa guesses correctly for each character you think of
- The sound effects in between guesses can get a bit annoying and obnoxious
The official "Akinator" skill brings the fun of guessing to Alexa. Your goal is to think of any character, real or fictional, and see if the Akinator genie will correctly guess your character.
This skill works well for the most part, but there have been complaints over the excessive use of sound effects in between guesses. Other than that, I would highly recommend enabling this skill.
11. Amazing Word Master Game
"Alexa, ask Word Master to play a game."
- One of the best games thus far for Alexa
- Challenging yet a blast to play
- Very simple to understand
- More voice recognition problems
- A limited vocabulary and unable to recognize some words
- Needs a better algorithm, word selection, and diversity
I enjoy this game because it's simple to play and a lot of fun, however; there's been problems when it comes to voice recognition and/or limited vocabulary.
It can get repetitive at times, which doesn't bode well when it fails to understand what you're saying. Even with all those issues, it's one of my favorite games in the Alexa app.
10. Pickup Lines
"Alexa, open pickup lines."
- Funniest skill to date with numerous pickup lines
- Transforms Alexa into a personable chat-bot
- Fantastic way to show off Alexa and your Amazon Echo
- Not suitable for all ages
- Some jokes are crude and inappropriate
The funniest skill to date with jokes that'll actually make you laugh. A fantastic skill to showcase Alexa to your adult friends and family members.
The best part outside the one-liners are Alexa's quips in between each pickup line.
These random quips give her a unique personality that I haven't seen before. The one slight negative is that this app is not suitable for all ages due to some crude jokes, but teens/adults will love it.
Everyone who owns an Alexa controlled device like the Echo, the Echo Dot, and the Amazon Tap needs to enable and try this skill for yourself.
You won't regret it.
9. Capital One
"Alexa, ask Capital One what's my account balance?"
- Check account information and recent transactions
- Pay your credit card bills and discover your current balance
- Check and pay home/auto loans as well as mortgage and car payments
- Potential privacy/security risks if you're not careful
- Lacks payment flexibility that the app and/or website has
A highly rated useful skill that brings a whole new level of innovation to Echo and Alexa as well as potential privacy concerns.
The commands give you the ability to check balances and transactions, make credit card payments, and even check/pay your home and auto loans all via voice.
There's always going to be a security risk when you get this personal, but luckily you can create a personal key for extra security. Users have complained about linking errors and a lack of payment functionality that the website or app has, so please be aware of that.
Other banking skills that are available include the Amex skill for your American Express account/s, U.S. Bank, and the PayPal skill to check your balances and send/request money.
I'd also recommend the Bloomberg and TD Ameritrade skills if you're interested in US stocks and the world market.
8. Campbell's Kitchen
"Alexa, ask Campbell's Kitchen what's for dinner."
- Trusted and well-known food company app
- Gives you a multitude of recipes for things like meat, soup, or fish
Recommended for you
- Presents a cooking book style summary in both the app and through your e-mail
- Needs more capabilities and options instead of recipe delivery through email
- Potential advertising and spamming headaches
- Would work better with a recipe to-do list included
A recipe based skill from a trustworthy/well-known source.
You get a decent selection of food recipes and it emails you the full recipe, however; I wish there were better ways of noting the recipe because an email from Campbell's opens the door for spam/junk posts.
Also it would be great if the ingredients you needed could automatically be added to a to-do list for your recipe of choice.
Others skills like Food Network and Allrecipes provide even more food recipes as well as visuals if you have an Echo Show or Spot device.
7. Valossa Movie Finder
"Alexa, ask movie finder what are the best romantic movies."
- Easy to use
- Executes action very well
- Gives you accurate information for your favorite movie
- Doesn't always understand the command
- May get movies mixed up
Another handy skill that helps you find the name of a movie you're looking for.
It's a must have skill if you're a movie addict because it'll give you important info about a particular movie or find a movie that you don't know the title of.
An alternative skill called MovieBot can recommend and discuss various movies based on what you're into. It can also stream movie trailers and give you showtimes for different movies in theaters and on Amazon Prime.
"Alexa, ask Automatic where my car is."
- Easy to sync to your car from Alexa
- Provides great information on gas, car location, and distance driven
- Excellent first step to linking with your car
- Doesn't work without an Automatic account and adapter (must be purchased)
- Information limited to one vehicle per account/adapter
- More features and tweaks needed
It's a stepping stone for using your Echo to communicate with your vehicle, and it does it pretty well. The issues come down to a lack of features and inability to interact with multiple vehicles per account.
You also have to buy the adapter and set up an account for it to work, however; the features it does have work perfectly.
"Alexa, ask Uber to request a ride."
- Good interface and accessibility
- Simple request for an Uber through a voice command
- Get various Uber ride options as well as ride status or cancellation
- May experience difficulty when linking Uber account to Alexa
- Issues with use of home address
- Minimal features and no international support
This skill was all the rage when it was introduced prior to the Super Bowl, but it's far from perfect. According to reviews on Alexa, some users were satisfied with its use and ease but several had issues. One of the complaints was a lack of international support (address).
Another problem was trouble linking the Uber account as well as issues regarding the home address on the Echo. Clearly there are kinks to work out and features to add but it's a huge step towards something much bigger and useful.
"Alexa, ask 1-800-Flowers to order flowers for my sister for her birthday."
- Send flowers to loved ones via voice
- Able to choose floral arrangement and delivery date
- Syncs with your existing 1-800-Flowers account
- Narrower range of floral options versus online account
- Privacy and security concerns
You can now order flowers to loved ones via voice through your 1-800-Flowers account. You have to ability to choose what floral options work best and which day to deliver the flowers.
Despite having numerous options, there remain limitations to what you can order through Alexa versus your online account, and there's always a privacy/security risk with voice purchasing.
However as long you're cautious, this skill will enhance your Alexa device's usefulness and make multitasking a breeze.
3. Domino's Pizza
"Alexa, open Dominos and place an order."
- Ordering pizza become a whole lot easier (and lazier)
- You can track your order's status
- Setup through Domino's is a snap with options for recent orders and a favorites list
- Little support outside the US
This is another major skill that has enhanced what Echo has become. Skills like this along with the Pizza Hut skill have made it much easier to order pizza on your Echo products.
With this skill, you can build a new order from scratch, place a favorite order, and track your order's status. You'll need to link your Dominos account and have a Domino's Pizza Profile to do things like re-order past orders.
If you'd like, you can sign up to get tracker notifications for real-time updates. To do this, you must allow Alexa permissions to access your Pizza Profile phone number
The full setup will only take a few minutes, and once you're done, you can finally enjoy ordering from your favorite pizza chains through only your voice.
2. The Wayne Investigation
"Alexa, open the Wayne Investigation."
- Choose your own adventure style game play via voice
- Well written story with tons of choices/options
- Top notch quality and audio
- I wish there were more games like this
We saw a taste of a choose your own adventure game in "The Magic Door" skill, but this takes things to another level and is fitting given films like Batman v. Superman becoming huge hits. There are no cons that I can think of from the game itself.
It's a fun Batman themed adventure-mystery game with quality writing and audio. I hope this skill will introduces more popular "fanboy" titles in the future.
"Alexa, Play Jeopardy!"
- It's helps build your daily knowledge
- Very popular skill from a hugely successful game show
- It's not an overbearing quiz app
- User complaints of its six questions a day format
- Technical and voice recognition errors for some
I love Jeopardy so it's nice that they give you a Jeopardy style app where you're able to build your knowledge. Also you now have the ability to purchase Echo buttons that act as buzzers for trivia games like Jeopardy and Trivial Pursuit.
If you're unsatisfied by the lack of questions, then you can become a Prime member to access Double Jeopardy (6 extra daily clues) or subscribe to Double Jeopardy for $1.99 a month.
This skill works great for the most part but there have been some technical and voice recognition problems when answering questions, so make sure to speak clearly when responding.
If regular Jeopardy isn't your style, then try the Teen and Sports Jeopardy skills and test your knowledge there.
5 Honorable Mentions
The best alternative to Uber allows you to request rides from the work/home addresses in your Lyft account, ask where your ride is, and how long it'll take. You can even use your voice to rate your drivers.
2. Home Advisor
An easy way to connect with 500+ pre-screened home service pros such as plumbers, handyman, and electricians. When you give your zip code and phone number, you'll get a call in minutes from a home expert of your choosing.
Powered by the Boston Children's Hospital, you'll get detailed information about common ailments such as colds, fevers, or nosebleeds. You'll also be provided with info on medication dosing. It's the best health skill thus far in the Alexa app.
Discover local events for the upcoming weekend or see what's happening in a city near you. You can choose which date you want to know info for through this easily accessible skill.
5. 1-Minute Mindfulness (Mindfulness)
To launch say open "Mindfulness", and choose from a variety of backdrop sounds for your meditation such as a river or forest meditation.
This skill wants you to breath and not think for a minute, and it's designed for anytime stress relief and relaxation.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: Can I link a smart TV to Alexa?
Answer: I use either my Fire Cube or the Fire Stick to control my smart TV with Alexa. If you're looking for a more direct connection, then there are Alexa enabled smart TVs that provide seamless controls. Additionally, depending on your cable provider or the cable box you're using, you may also be able to get Alexa to control them.
I have an article discussing "Alexa's 20 Best Features" that provides a lot more detail about Alexa's TV/Entertainment controls.
Question: Have you checked out the amazing Lemonade Stand game skill?
Answer: I have seen it and it looks promising. I have a separate article focused mainly on kid friendly skills and may mention it on there.
Kavita Mevada on March 27, 2019:
Thanks for providing such a nice information.
Joe Joseph on February 18, 2019:
I used Akinator and my characters were Hatsumomo from Memoirs of a Geisha, Scooby Doo, Moe from the Simpsons, and Arnold Palmer. She got all of them.
Jaya Ramsinghani on December 24, 2018:
These look great! One skill that you missed though, is the Would You Rather for Family! I play this game with my nephews all the time and they love it! It has been named one of the best skills of 2018 on Amazon and I highly recommend it for a fun night with the family. It even has several categories to choose from and has updated questions.
Tatiana Granat on November 07, 2018:
It's a great detailed review of skills from the store. I am new to Alexa and Voice based application. And just looking at some of your views in the comments from the past, I get a fair idea of how it's evolved now!
Would you be so kind to review my skill called 'Story stream' it helps indie creators publish their work, and allows users to stream immersive stories on all Alexa enabled devices, including Alexa Enabled Headphones
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on July 20, 2018:
Sure, no problem. I frequently check out that link because everything is so well put together and nicely organized.
NikkiRoxi on July 13, 2018:
Thanks for including the link to all the Skills. I am going to check it out.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on January 08, 2018:
That's great, I'm glad they were helpful. There are so many that it's hard to keep track.
Ronald E Franklin from Mechanicsburg, PA on January 06, 2018:
I'm compiling a personal list of the skills I can use with Alexa, and this was helpful. I learned about some that I didn't know about.
Suraj Padmasali from Ahmedabad, India on November 15, 2017:
Amazon Alexa is one of the best intelligent voice assistants, and There are thousands of Alexa commands and skills over there.
Among all of them, there are selected skills for kids only like gaming skills, learning skills, etc. which are keep your children happy. You can explore that all here https://www.megebyte.com/best-amazon-alexa-skills-...
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on October 17, 2017:
I have a feeling that eventually there won't be a separate category for skills unless they get treated as premium Apps for Amazon & Alexa.
Certainly most of the basic skills that serve as an extension of Alexa will be integrated into the system.
Thank you for summing up why these devices are so excellent and important for our future. I hope viewers take a look at your comment because I couldn't have said it better.
If these products can do so much already, then just imagine the possibilities in 2018, 2019, 2020 and beyond.
NikkiRoxi on October 12, 2017:
I am now changing my view on the Skills. I no longer want them, instead I want them to be completely integrated into the Alexa software. I don't want to have to remember the name of the Skill in order to launch it. I just want to say Alexa and ask her what I want.
For those of you that don't understand why you would purchase one of these gadgets. Let me inform you. The Amazon Echo devices are better than SiRi, better than Google Assistant on your phone. Because it works and controls things both of those cannot. The sound coming out of your phone cannot compare to something with a full functioning speaker. I have an iPad and a Android phone (Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge) so I know of what I speak. Alexa can control your home if you want to add Smart devices and no you do not need a Hub. I don't have a Hub and I control my lights and my Security system with Alexa. Now away from home you can use your phone as an alarm clock but Alexa can do so too. Most importantly you have to press a button on your phone in order to get GH assistant and Siri to respond to you. With Alexa you can be in another room and she will hear you call her name and she will respond. With multiple Echoes you can stream music all over your home. I control my Fire Tv Stick using my voice. Being able to call anyone I want with just my voice is priceless. My phone is not even involved when I do this either (however my cell phone number is).
Summary what I am getting at you will truly be hands free as never before.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on June 19, 2017:
You can also add a second user to his profile by going on settings in Alexa app and go to join household. You then add the second user login info and all media files can be shared between two people. After adding the second user you can tell Alexa to switch between profiles if you're the one with a Spotify account.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on June 19, 2017:
You can access the app on your phone but use his login for the Alexa app and then link Spotify using your login information for it.
Christie. on June 19, 2017:
My boyfriend set up the Echo Dot with his Ap on his phone. Can I access my Ap on my phone, also, so I can play my Spotify? He doesn't have any music on his phone.
Juicy Milk on May 22, 2017:
Tell her to enable dank memes. thank me later
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on May 18, 2017:
That's very interesting, I've never considered a new social paradigm using the Alexa platform but it could open up a brand new way of social networking. Thank you for sharing I'll have to look into it.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on May 18, 2017:
I will look at it thank you.
Kush Gupta on May 18, 2017:
Hey, I'm the creator of the skill Kush Roast and was wondering if you could check it out
Tao An on May 12, 2017:
We made a Alexa social Skill called "Ocean Bottle", where you can talk to real people and make new friends in the Alexa’s way.
There are so many skills on Alexa making conversation between people and devices. They are kind of boring to me. Since Alexa has millions of users, why couldn’t make connections among them? There are social websites come to Alexa, like Twitter. Why Alexa can’t have its own way to social?
That’s how the idea of “Ocean Bottle” came out to me. In the skill, you can throw drift bottles with any messages to the ocean. Or pick up drift bottles from the ocean, and reply to the sender if you want. The person who picked up your bottle, or the sender who received your reply, can reply back. In this way, the conversations keep going.
In a very short time, our skill attracted thousands of users’ attention, and quite a lot of them are daily active. This is quite encouraging. We are keeping improving it and more features are on the way now.
I am sharing this, hoping to get your view about the ‘’Ocean Bottle” skill, or the future of social applications on voice devices.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on February 15, 2017:
Thanks for the input, that can be extremely useful indeed.
Adam from Loughborough, UK on February 12, 2017:
Don't forget about the "Virtual Nurse" skill which is completely free to download onto your Amazon Echo and provides emergency medical advise i.e. CPR, Burns etc. https://lowaire.com/virtual-nurse-alexa-skills/
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on February 04, 2017:
Unfortunately I have to agree that the majority of these skills are way too inefficient and flawed. When you open your platform to everyone then that's what you can expect sadly but there are a few gems. I'll have to update a few of these skills for some new ones that I constantly use. For example the ambient noise skills like rain and thunderstorms are simple but very effective for those who wish to turn Alexa into their very own sound machine. A lot of customers seem to like those as well based on reviews and their popularity.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on February 04, 2017:
What really makes you successful is that anyone can set her up and use Alexa with ease. Amazon really hit a home run here and the integration with numerous smart home products is a major win. I've recommended the Echo to numerous people and the majority have been very happy with the product. The Dot in particular was a major draw due to its low price and compact appearance. The tall Echo has become more of a device for those who really want full audio and play music often but it's still great even with the high price tag. It's quite amazing how these products start to blend into the home and you just use them without notice. That's the beauty of technology when it can integrate so flawlessly and easily without distractions.
Mark Meyer on February 03, 2017:
I would really like to be able to sync the Calendar on my iPhone 7 Plus to my Alexa Dot. That way I could get what appointments and such I have that day. I don't typically use my Gmail account for much and never use that calendar.
So if someone knows a way to get that to work, I would be very pleased. I am trying now to get my Gmail Calendar to sync to my iPhone Calendar using FreeBusy but not having much success.
NikkiRoxi on February 03, 2017:
Skills, Skills, where do I begin with the Skills. I really don't like most of them. I am not talking about those you have listed here. I am talking about those I have tried. Some of them really don't work as advertised. I have the same complaint about the Jeopardy J6 skill. Not enough questions and you can only play it once a day. I have the WeMo skill that works. She integrates really well with my WeMo switches and I use Alexa and IFTTT to control my Security Cameras. I have sent feedback to Amazon regarding their offerings in the Skill store. They need to require a higher quality of skills from developers. It seems right now anyone can create a skill and it will be added, but Amazon is not checking them for ease of use nor reliability. I suggested they make the parameters for making a Skill more stringent.
NikkiRoxi on February 03, 2017:
When the Echo first came out, I was interested but the price was no bueno for me. So I passed. Now 2 years later I saw the Echo Dot on QVC shopping channel and they were demonstrating some of the features and I was like that would make a good Christmas gift for so and so and for myself. So I bought 4 of them two I gave away as gifts and two I kept for myself. So glad I did. Everyday now I look on YouTube or search the web for more things I can do with Alexa that I don't already know about. That is how I found this page and your article(s). The person that said you have to experience Alexa before you can get her is absolutely correct. You cannot actually know about her until you use her. Seeing it demonstrated and now having it in my home for a few weeks now I can honestly say I love having her in my house. I currently have 3 Dots and may get the Tall Echo with something else. Not sure yet. But the three I have I use. I actually gave my parents one Echo and my Uncle the other one. My Uncle loves it. My parents took a while to hook it up but they are starting to warm up to her too.
lillian on January 30, 2017:
is there a way to find out what the playlists are, and what music is on each one? On my Alexa email updates, it references Play wakeup country playlist. How do I find others?
CeBik on January 27, 2017:
Desired skill: What is the phone number for...
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on January 27, 2017:
Justin Hook on January 23, 2017:
Don't forget AutoCompete (Google Feud)! https://www.amazon.com/AutoCompete/dp/B01N5DIWPF/
Joe on January 09, 2017:
Thanks for the article. She
controls my lights, fans, and t-stats. Amazon music unlimited is great. These skills are icing on the cake. She is excellent at the animal game and 20 questions.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on December 31, 2016:
Do you think the whole Echo/Alexa platform is gimmicky or some of the features like the skills? I can see how certain add-ons are that way but I don't think everything falls in that category. You're correct though that one must experience it before passing judgement and I understand how it's not for everyone. Perhaps people are just averse to new technological concepts as history has shown. I do think that the gimmicks will translate into usefulness over time and that more and more people will warm up to the idea. That's usually how these things work.
Matt Wilson on December 30, 2016:
I think the concept sounds gimmicky no matter how it's defined in writing. Everyone has to experience this first hand in order for them to understand it's promise. The biggest compliment I can offer is that an unused room in our home is now a genuine draw with the introduction of echo dot.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on December 22, 2016:
That's where you can access these skills as well as on the Amazon website. The app has its own skills feature on the menu that shows new skills, trending skills, customer favorites and so forth.
Mark on December 21, 2016:
Can you do these with the Alexa App on Android Play store?
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on December 17, 2016:
As far as I know that doesn't officially exist at the moment. There are generally skills that tell you facts about the game but none that make it playable just yet.
Capt. David on December 17, 2016:
Is there a chess playing feature for Alexa? If so, how is it accessed?
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on December 14, 2016:
Yes any Alexa enabled device will support all third party skills as well as smart home devices.
DAVE O on December 14, 2016:
Does the 'Dot' support all 20+ functions you outline for the Echo here?
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on December 08, 2016:
Happy to hear you're having a positive experience with the Echo. Most people I've come across have listed similar points as to why they love the product. I do get the naysayers that tell me that it's either too expensive or that their phones can do the same things Alexa can. I think those people are completely oblivious to Alexa and the Echo's advantages. Like you said, with Echo it's so easy to get the weather, create a grocery list, play music, or get corny jokes within seconds. Alexa is far more convenient than a phone within your home and she's a much better listener too. Thank you for sharing and giving more positive insight into this device, I hope consumers can understand why Echo isn't just a gimmicky product. Alexa is actually useful and fun.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on December 08, 2016:
I'm still shocked Amazon is selling their Echo Dot for such a low amount, they really want you to buy one for every room of your home. I too enjoy the easy controls.
Leslie on December 07, 2016:
After getting to experience the Echo at a family member's house, I decided to get one. Couldn't go another day without it. I love this article and may have to try a couple of the skills you listed that I don't already have. And for the others who aren't yet convinced that it is worth the expense, she is very helpful in the kitchen for timers and for deciding on your weather appropriate outfit each day. My family members are always asking me about the weather like I'm the weather man. I just relieved myself of that title. Alexa does it for me. And I love playing whatever music I want through a voice command. Nice speaker too. Calendar reminders, adding things to your grocery list or to-do list. Very happy I splurged on myself.
Echo Rocks on December 04, 2016:
The use of echo (dot) as an extremely inexpensive voice remote for music is endless, plus reading books both audio and mobi files. Honestly I was quite impressed.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on November 29, 2016:
I'm really hoping they expand on that type of storytelling as it could be a killer feature in the future. There are so many possibilities and TrackR is nice to have if devices constantly get misplaced.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on November 29, 2016:
There's always a ton more skills but it depends on the individual. Outside the Alexa skills it's still a nice product especially if you get the cheap Echo Dot. You'd be surprised how quickly you get accustomed to having one nearby. Will it change your life and is it a must have, probably not, but it is a lot more effective than most gadgets out there.
Neil H on November 29, 2016:
If these are the "20 Best Skills in the Alexa App" then it's not worth buying. I'm sure the Fart app will keep people occupied for years to come. Pickup Lines could be useful if you're an idiot.
Christina on November 26, 2016:
Just played The Wayne Investigation, wow that was cool. So far that and the TrackR app(because I'm forever setting my phone down and forgetting where) are my favorites. I'd love more dynamic interactive games.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on November 18, 2016:
No problem my only hope is that it helps inform a few people. Thank you
Ella Bella from The Prestigious Kirby Residences on November 15, 2016:
@Chriswillman90... Asking why is pointless. Not worth your time:) Informative article, thank you for writing it.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on November 11, 2016:
If you say so, may I ask why?
Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on September 19, 2016:
Thanks for that additional info in your prior comment. That makes it much clearer what to expect from Echo. I use Siri all the time on my iPad, so I guess I wouldn't get much more than that out of Echo without the additional devices.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on September 19, 2016:
I'm glad I could help. Without the extra smart gadgets, the Echo is a more useful and attentive version of Siri, but with other tech devices, it can transform your home and offer you a lot more convenience. However I do think these skills are a nice touch because many don't require more accessories. All you need is to setup a few accounts for free and you'll be ready to go.
Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on September 17, 2016:
I was thinking of buying the Echo ever since it first came out but I never understood if it was limited without buying all the other gadgets. I see now that in order to make it to all the wonderful things, one needs to purchase all the smart gadgets to go with it.
Thanks for writing this very complete guide about Amazon's Alexa Echo. It's just the information I was looking for.
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on May 10, 2016:
I like the layout and everything is well categorized. It makes finding certain skills a lot easier. Can I include the link to your site in my article?
Krzysztof Willman (author) from Parlin, New Jersey on March 24, 2016:
Thank you for the update and great skill. I'll make sure to update the information.
Pargee on March 22, 2016:
Hey there, thanks for the article! I'm the creator of the 7-Minute Workout skill and wanted to share that you can resume existing and track your completed workouts as of mid-January -- I just haven't updated the description at this point. Will definitely get this updated!