As we find ourselves surrounded by unprecedented technologies, we realize the future is indeed now. The world is dominated by Artificial Intelligence and the most relevant case in point is the increasing use of virtual assistants. Amazon’s Alexa is one such virtual assistant and is operated by the voice of its user. Alexa boasts a lot of exemplary skills that are designed to make the lives of its users very easy and pleasant. In this article, I will talk about the best Alexa skills to use in 2020. But first, let’s understand what exactly the Amazon Alexa skills are.
What are Amazon Alexa Skills?
Alexa skills are voice-driven skills you can use to create a personalized experience with your virtual assistant and the connected smart home devices. Basically, the skills for Alexa are just like apps for a phone device. Much like you can install/uninstall apps on your mobile phones/tablets, you can enable/disable certain Alexa skills for your Echo devices.
For example, you can enable skills that allow you to access your favorite playlists using just a simple voice command.
Before discussing the best Alexa skills for 2020, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.
5 Things to Know About Best Alexa Skills in 2020
- Amazon Skill store is the official skill directory of Alexa. It lets you search skills, review them and enable or disable the skill of your choice.
- The skills in the Amazon Global store are different than those available in the Amazon stores for particular countries. The global store has a larger variety of impressive skills. In order to get access to those skills, you just need to change your account to global i.e Amazon.com instead of Amazon.in or Amazon.sg etc.
- The Alexa skills are stored on Amazon’s cloud system. This means that you can download and enable any number of skills without worrying about storage overload or slowing down of your smart devices.
- Looking for a certain skill but can’t find it? Don’t worry because Amazon even has an option that lets you create a custom Alexa skill with the help of available templates.
Now let’s take a look at some of the most interesting Alexa skills you should try out in 2020.
Best Alexa Skills in 2020 That Every Echo User Must Try
Currently, there are over 100,000 Alexa Skills available that can take care of a wide variety of tasks for you. Here are our top recommendations for best Alexa skills to try out in 2020:
1. Take Your Prime Membership to The Next Level
Amazon’s Alexa helps you make the most out of your prime membership in a lot of ways. Using Alexa and your Echo devices, you can learn about the exclusive deals available to an Amazon Prime Member.
Furthermore, it allows you to shop directly or track the delivery status of your products with delivery notifications. Also, it gives you direct access to Amazon Prime Music which has a collection of more than 2 million songs.
Apart from that, Amazon Photos, secure online storage service for personal photos and videos, is now available on Alexa. Using Fire TV or Echo Show, you can ask Alexa to display photos of your choice.
2. Find My Phone
For many, many users, this Alexa skill is a ‘life saver’. The ‘Find My Phone’ feature is especially useful for those parents who often have their mobile phones misplaced by their children.
There are a number of skills available on the Amazon Skill store but most popular of them all is Phone Genie. Once enabled, you can command Alexa to find your phone. Upon receiving the command, Phone Genie will route a cellular call to your phone.
Every time you use this skill, Phone Genie will ring your phone for about 40 seconds. However, if your phone is off, on silent mode, or out of coverage then the skill won’t be of much help to you.
3. Relaxing Sounds
This is probably one of the best Alexa skills available in 2020. Through this feature, Amazon aims at reducing anxiety as well as allowing its users to experience the serenity of nature in their living room.
A simple voice command and your virtual assistant will play an assortment of ambient and relaxing sounds like rain sounds, Indian flute and much more.
Also, you can manage the skills in such a way that enables Alexa to chant sounds for positive energy like Om mantra or feng shui music. The functionality of timer automatically stops the music after a predetermined time period.
4. News Flash Briefing
A morning dose of news is often a prerequisite for people. Alexa caters to this need using its ‘News Flash Briefing’ skills. Users can get latest news updates via different news applications and online news sources through Alexa.
With a simple voice command such as “Alexa, what’s in the news?” you can learn about the latest stories from a number of sources.
Amazon’s Alexa serves as a great platform to acquire a basic know-how about various day-to-day tasks. With its smartness, Alexa is able to guide you through basic tutorials with its WikiHow skill. With this skill, you can get a step-by-step tutorial with a voice command as simple as “Ask WikiHow how to…”
6. Cab Aggregators
We’ve all been in situations where we had to book an urgent cab and in a hurry. Alexa, being your virtual assistant, makes the task of booking a cab very easy and simple for you.
All you need to do is enable the Ola or Uber skill and link your accounts. Alexa will then hail a cab for you with commands like “Alexa, ask Uber to book a ride to work” or “Alexa, ask Ola to book a prime to home”.
Streaming music through smart speakers is very convenient and that’s why it has also become a major trend. With the help of Alexa, you can stream music from a wide range of sources on your Echo speakers or an echo device with a screen.
Besides Amazon music, you can also leverage the services of Spotify by enabling its skills.
In addition to that, you can also stream domestic radio stations for music, national news and other related stuff by enabling their respective skills.
Amazon’s Alexa has made self-care and self-improvement easier than ever with its meditation skills. The Amazon skill store contains a selection of skills designed for guided meditation. Among them, Cure.fit meditation is most popular. Its extensive features walk you through different kinds of meditation with very thorough explanations.
Other best Alexa skills in 2020 for meditation include Headspace and Art of living meditation.
9. Controlling IoT Devices
Amazon allows its users the option of pairing Alexa and Echo smart speakers with IoT devices for enhanced experience. They can be paired with devices such as Link Amp, Echo Show, Smart Plug, Fire TV Stick among others, and can be controlled with the help of Alexa.
This feature also makes it possible for the users to use Alexa as an intercom to make announcements. In essence, the message is heard on all the Echo smart speakers in the house. For example, you can tell Alexa to announce the dinner and the message gets shared and heard on other connected smart speakers.
As a virtual assistant, one of Alexa’s best skills in 2020 include setting reminders, alarms and to-do lists. It is better to set reminders using Alexa than on your phone because it possesses a humane quality in the sense that you are reminded by a voice rather than a simple ringtone.
It should be noted that the reminders and alarms only sound off on the device on which you set them. So if you have more than one Echo device, it is recommended that you set your reminders on the one you use most frequently.
11. Use Different Voice Profiles
One of the best Alexa skills in 2020 is its ability to differentiate profiles based on the voice of the user.
It is possible that two or more users with separate Amazon accounts use the same Echo speaker along with the voice assistant Alexa. Using the voice profile skill, Alexa is able to distinguish among different operators and provide more personalized results to the individuals.
A simple example can be: If your brother asks Alexa to play their favorite playlist on Spotify, Alexa will use the Spotify account of your brother and not yours.
12. This Day in History
This is a must have Alexa skill for all the history buffs. Through the ‘This Day in History’ feature, you can get to know about the historical significance of a particular date. Just say “Alexa, launch This Day in History” and listen to a list of significant events that occurred on those particular dates.
Amazon’s Alexa has a lot of entertainment value as well. Apart from streaming music, you can also ask Alexa about movie and TV show recommendations to kill your time.
The Valossa Movie Finder skill is extremely helpful in finding movies based on context, genre or date. For instance, just say “Alexa ask Movie Finder what are the best action movies”. Similarly, you can enable TV guide skill for finding TV shows of your choice.
The Bottom Line
The list of best Alexa skills in 2020 is not limited to just the above mentioned options. The Amazon skill store offers a massive selection of skills in the category of business, finance, smart homes and much more. Ultimately, it all depends on your needs and requirements. If you want to make the most out of your Echo device then experimenting with new and exciting Alexa skills is the best way to do it.