Caitlin Fairchild | Nextgov | May 12, 2017 | 0 Comments

How to Get More from Your Amazon Echo

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The Amazon Echo is a popular new gadget and how many tech users are being introduced to artificial intelligence and smart homes. But just what exactly can this small black cylinder do?

Before your Amazon Echo can do anything, first she has to understand you. The Echo comes with multiple microphones and the Alexa software is always listening for her name.

After you have downloaded the Alexa app, head to Menu, then Settings and then Voice Training. From there, you'll be guided to say a variety of phrases so Alexa can learn the sound of your voice and the rhythms of your speech. So now, when you ask Alexa for a "spaghetti recipe," she won't give you a "sweating remedy".

All of those microphones and a constantly listening software might understandably freak out some people. In that case, remember to press the mute button. But it's not just the software that could be listening in. Every command give Alexa is recorded and visible on the Alexa app, so whoever is running the Alexa app on their smartphone can see your commands. So think twice before asking Alexa to play some Kenny G.

You can also delete any recordings of your voice through the Alexa app. From the main screen, you can see Alexa History, and from there, you can go to Cards and Delete Cards.

Alexa can also become fully integrated into your morning routine. You can verbally compile a to-do or grocery shopping list and then double check it on the mobile app when you're out and about or at the supermarket.

Add your Google Calendar by going to Settings, then Under Account, pick Calendar and link your Google account. Then every morning, Alexa can give you a rundown of your daily schedule when you ask, "Alexa, what's on my calendar this today?"

Alexa can read you a morning Flash Briefing culled from new sources you've selected. In the Alexa app, go to Settings, then under Account, select Flash Briefing.

Alexa also makes an excellent assistant chef. She can set a timer for the oven and calculate conversions and let you how many tablespoons are in a cup, which is useful for making that spaghetti recipe you asked her for earlier.

Ultimately, there are many things the Amazon Echo and is capable of right out of the box and even more it can learn. Alexa actually has a function called Skill Finder that lets users search for the more than 10,000 tasks she's capable of. Some of the more popular skills are listed here.

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