So you got yourself an Amazon Echo and you live in Canada. What’s next? Even though Amazon has not yet officially announced the Amazon Echo platform in Canada, here are 10 simple things you can do today with your Amazon Echo device.
10. Set a Timer or Alarm
This most basic feature is probably the one Echo users call out most of the time.
Alexa, set the timer for 10 minutes.
As a timer, it’s guaranteed Alexa will finally put to pasture your kitchen egg timer. You can even follow up with “Alexa, how much time is left on my timer?” to ensure those baked muffins don’t burn. Additionally Amazon Echo has quietly taken on your bedroom clock radio with “Alexa, wake me up at 7 in the morning.” Or, you can set a repeating alarm to ensure you never miss the bus “Alexa, set a repeating alarm for Tuesday at 7.”
9. Play Music
As a Canadian you’ve probably already realized that Amazon’s music service called Prime has yet to be introduced in Canada. When asking Alexa to play music you are limited to a 30 second sample from Prime’s music library. Fortunately you can now set your default music player to Spotify. What’s Spotify? Spotify is a streaming music service that has been in Canada since 2014 and is arguably one of the biggest.
8. Do a Seven Minute Workout
Alexa, start seven minute workout.
The 7-Minute Workout skill bills itself as a scientifically proven set of exercises designed to increase metabolism, improve energy, lower stress, and best of all, remove fat! It’s a small daily commitment for such enormous benefits.
To get started, you simply need to say ‘Start 7-Minute Workout,’ and you will be guided through the entire routine. Take breaks as you need them, and let Alexa know when you are ready to begin the next exercise, but don’t forget to push yourself!
7. Set the Temperature
Amazon Echo has the ability to adjust the temperature on certain Echo-enabled thermostats like Nest, Ecobee and Honeywell Lyric. If you have one of these thermostats installed, you can simply ask Alexa to set the temperature to a certain degree without even having to get up from your comfy couch. Don’t forget to set your temperature and distance settings to metric in the Alexa app or directly on the Alexa web page.
6. Create a Shopping List
With Amazon Echo, you no longer have to make mental notes to purchase an item that’s missing from your pantry or fridge. Just say “Alexa, add milk to my shopping list” and you will be sure to buy it later. You can even use the same principle for a to-do list. You can also use IFTTT to export these into your iOS Reminders app.
5. Translate a Word
Alexa, ask Translator to say ‘love’ in French.
Add the Translator for Alexa skill and you’ll be able to impress your foreign friends. This skill can easily translate English words and phrases into over 50 languages.
4. Maintain Your Calendar
Did you know your smart speaker is capable of connecting itself to your Google Calendar? While you are having breakfast in the morning, simply ask Alexa what’s on your calendar for the day. Or “Alexa, add an event to my calendar.”
3. Check Traffic for Your Commute
Alexa will inform you of the traffic situation before leaving your house for work in the morning. Use the Alexa app or go to Settings > Traffic on the Alexa web page. This works great in Canada too!
2. Check Your Canadian Weather
Alexa, what will the weather be like in Toronto tomorrow?
Your Amazon Echo may not have been official released in Canada but it can still tell the Canadian weather (spoiler alert, it’s gonna be cold). If you’ve set metric for your temperature default in settings you’ll also get a more Canadian, eh, experience.
1. Sing Happy Birthday
Albeit probably one of the more useless but equally fun features of Amazon Echo. On that special day ask Alexa to sing Happy Birthday and impress your friends! Thankfully she even does it on key but oddly Alexa claims she doesn’t know any other songs (yet).
That is 10 things you can do with your Amazon Echo in Canada. Be mindful that this list is far from exhaustive. Amazon Echo has many features, over one thousand skills (and growing), and no list is long enough to incorporate all of them!
Update: the Translator skill (number 5 on our list) was pulled from the Skills store. The skill seemed to have stopped working as of the new year.