Alexa Skills come to the Echo, plus more home automation

Alexa Skills come to the Echo, plus more home automation

There has been a significant new update to the

Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and it is just the very beginning of what will show us the Echo/Alexa’s vast capabilities coming in the future.

With software version 2606 (you don’t need to do anything, your Echo will just update), we have the arrival of Alexa Skills.

I’ve written about the

Alexa Skills Kit

previously, and have begun to speculate about what it might mean on my


It allows third party developers to give Alexa new powers.

For the first time, you can access three of them by going to

Home – Menu – Skills

There are three skills available now (you have to activate them in the app):

  • Crystal Ball: this is like the Magic Eight Ball. You launch it by saying, “Alexa, launch Crystal Ball”. Then it asks you to concentrate on a yes/no question, and to say, “Ready” when you want its response. It then gives you an answer like, “Without a doubt.” Should be fun for kids
  • Math Puzzles: “Alexa, open math puzzles”. It gives you a sequence of numbers, and you guess the next number. The first one was hard…I knew the pattern, figuring out what the right answer was was difficult! The second one I did was easier. Note: I got caught in kind of a loop at one point: saying, “Alexa, stop” got me out of it
  • StubHub: “Alexa, ask StubHub what’s happening in…” There are a lot of options here. It will ask you to set your home city. Note: I set one home city, and then wanted to change it. I said, “Alexa, ask StubHub to set my home city,” and it let me change it. I thought I’d be able to set it in the app, but I didn’t see an option. You can also get information for many large cities. Note that although StubHub is a ticket buying service, it just listed the events for me…I wasn’t using it to buy tickets

The Echo can also now control additional home devices from Leviton and Lightify. You can see (and purchase) here:

Echo Compatible home automation devices (at AmazonSmile*)

Congratulations to April F. Hamilton of Love My Echo! Crystal Ball is one of the developer’s Alexa skills, and it was one of the first three to appear!

Love My Echo is not connected to my blog

I Love My Kindle

which is one of the most popular blogs of any kind in the USA Kindle store. However, I’m happy I found it! April gives us a real inside view of developers using the ASK (not a coincidental acronym, I’m sure, for the Alexa Skills Kit) in addition to other useful Echo information.

Enjoy the new skills…and I’ll keep you informed as more become available!

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard 

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

One Response to “Alexa Skills come to the Echo, plus more home automation”

  1. Over $90 in paid apps & games free (limited time) | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Alexa Skills come to the Echo, plus more home automation […]

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