Below are five Alexa skills worth trying this week, chosen from the New, Trending, and Customer Favorites This Week categories of the Alexa Skills Store.
In Alexa news this week, on Friday images began to emerge of an Amazon smart speaker with a touchscreen and front-facing camera. An Amazon Echo-like device with a touchscreen is reportedly due out sometime this month.
The Tide – Stain Remover Alexa skill talks you through how to remove a stain from an item of clothing. Today, it can tell you how to remove common stains like ink, blood, coffee, or tea, but feel free to ask if it will remove other stains. For example, it can tell you how to get spaghetti stains out (but not soy sauce).
I like that this skill doesn’t hesitate to send every interaction it has with you to the Alexa app, including a list of stains it can tell you how to remove and instructions for each stain removal technique referenced. Skills like these might come in handy when Alexa gets a touchscreen.
Give the skill your phone number (it goes into the Tide database, whatever that means) and it can text you the stain tips you requested from the skill.
A few weeks back, I agreed with customers reviewing The Voice skill that it’s very disappointing to use a skill for a show about music and hear no music. The Eurovision Song Contest skill does not make the same mistake.
Though the skill doesn’t give you the ability to hear songs from this year’s finalists, it does allow you to hear the winning song from every Eurovision Song Contest ever held, from 1956 to 2016.
The skill can also tell you the last time a particular nation won the contest, from Celine Dion for France in 1988 to “Hard Rock Hallelujah” from Finland’s Lordi in 2006.
If you like the idea of the Eurovision Song Contest or Eurovision music, it’s fun to dive into this skill and just see what comes out. As you might imagine, 1956 is very different from 2006.
For those of you who enjoy watching the competition every year in Europe, going through annual winners can feel a bit nostalgic. This may be one of my favorite Alexa skills ever made, even if I do not count myself as a huge fan of the musical stylings of the Eurovision Song Contest.
This skill is in private beta but it lets people use Alexa to make phone calls and send SMS messages, among other things.
The skill can also initiate Google Maps navigation or tell you about recent calls.
Like Mastermind, Dialpad also allows people to make phone calls with Alexa.
Amazon is reportedly working on an Alexa-enabled device that makes phone calls.
The female innovators skill from Ericsson Careers is a quiz that asks questions about women who have made a name for themselves as innovators.
Achievements recognized in the quiz include the $30 million given by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandburg to help young women succeed, as well as questions about some of the first women to be astronomers, computer scientists, and others.
Most Alexa skills are geared toward adults, but Brainy Bee demonstrates why kids can have fun too.
Brainy Bee quizzes you on subjects like math, vocabulary, and science.