The Amazon Echo can do a lot of neat stuff, but its built-in features are just the tip of the iceberg. With third-party “Alexa Skills”, you can add further capabilities to the Echo, like adding events to your Google Calendar and even ordering pizza.
There are thousands of third-party Alexa Skills that you can enable for your Amazon Echo, and that number continues to rise. But not all of them are worthy of your time. And while many of them include fun-but-useless little features, there are still a handful that are worthwhile. Here are a few third-party Alexa Skills that you should check out.
How to Add Skills to the Amazon Echo
First, before we dive deep 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 begin, tap on the menu button in the top-left corner of the screen in the Alexa app.
Select “Skills” from the list.
Tap inside of the search box at the top where it says “Search All Skills” and type in the name of an Alexa Skill that you want to install. Then tap on the Search button to the right.
If you’re not looking for a particular Alexa Skill, you can also just scroll down to browse through them, or tap on “Categories” to narrow down the field a bit.
When the Skill appears, tap on it to open it up and see more information about it.
From there, tap on “Enable Skill” to add the Alexa Skill to your Amazon Echo.
Depending on the Alexa Skill you’re installing, you may receive pop-up prompts, like allowing the Alexa Skill to use your location. Or you might be redirected to a new screen where you’ll need to sign into your account that’s associated with the Alexa Skill you installed (Like Lyft, for instance).
Once the Alexa Skill is installed and enabled, you’ll see “Disable Skill” appear, which means you’re all set!
Seven Third-Party Alexa Skills to Try
You can search through Amazon’s massive library in the Alexa app and discover Alexa Skills on your own, but here are a few of our favorites to get you started.
Domino’s and Pizza Hut
Have you ever dreamed about ordering pizza using your voice? And we don’t mean over the phone, but using a virtual assistant like the Amazon Echo. Domino’s and Pizza Hut both have an Alexa Skill for this.
You’ll need to make sure that you have accounts created at either establishment, as well as an address and payment method entered in. However, you can browse menu items and order pizza right from the Echo without lifting a finger.
The only downside? You’re eating Domino’s and Pizza Hut.
You likely know how to make the most basic of cocktails, but you might need a little help for the more advanced stuff. The Bartender has all sorts of drink recipes that you can peruse.
All you have to do is say “Alexa, ask The Bartender to make a Grasshopper”. Alexa will tell you the ingredients, the amount, and the 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.
Alexa’s default weather reporting does a fine job if you just want the basics, but Big Sky is able to pump a big dose of steroids into Alexa’s weather forecast.
You can obviously ask Big Sky just for the basic forecast, but if you want more specifics, you can say things like “Alexa, ask Big Sky what the humidity is” or “Alexa, ask Big Sky what the temperature will be at 5pm”.
You’ll need to create a Big Sky account once you enable the Alexa Skill, as well as enter in your location and choose from a couple of 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 the glowing blue ring on your Echo for any amount of time.
Just say “Alexa, open Night Light” and the blue ring will light up. Granted, it does oscillate a little bit, but it should give you just enough light so that you don’t trip over anything.
When you want to turn it off, just say “Alexa, stop” or hit the wake button on the Echo. You can also turn it on for a specific amount of time by saying “Alexa, open Night Light for two minutes”.
If you’re a big podcast listener, AnyPod is perhaps one of the best podcast-related Alexa Skills you can use.
Once enabled, just say “Alexa, ask AnyPod to play This American Life”. You can also fast-forward and rewind podcasts by specific lengths, as well as subscribe to podcasts that you like.
You can even be broad with your podcast searches, so saying something like “Alexa, ask AnyPod to play Alec Baldwin” will tell AnyPod that you probably want to listen to “Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin”.
The 7-Minute Workout is extremely popular, consisting of several high-intensity exercises that take just seven minutes to get through. With the 7-Minute Workout Alexa Skill, you can have your Amazon Echo lead you through the workout without having to time everything yourself.
All you have to say is “Alexa, start 7-Minute Workout” and you’ll be guided through all the exercises. Alexa will wait up for you and ask you if you’re ready for the next exercise, which is a nice touch.
If you want to know how to say a certain phrase in a specific language, you can quickly as Alexa using Translated. Simply say “Alexa, ask Translated to say where is the restroom in Spanish.”
You can also tell Alexa to “slow down” if you need to hear the translation more carefully, or just tell her to “repeat” it and she will repeat the translation.
Translated supports a huge list of languages, including fairly obscure languages like Catalan, Welsh, Basque, and others.