Keeping Up With Alexa Commands

Keeping Up with Alexa Commands: August 31st

Discover new things to ask Alexa—whether brand new, newly-updated, or newly-promoted—that were released from Amazon this week. Listed below are the latest 20 Alexa commands, growing the list to 285 unique things to ask Alexa. While duds are rare, I quickly weed out the good from the bad, so you don’t have to. So go ahead, grab your Echo Dot, Echo Show, or other Alexa-enabled device and give these commands a try. 

Keep scrolling to see the full lineup or use the table of contents to skip to a command that most interests you. 

Things to Ask Alexa…

Welcome to the final newsletter of August. These unique things to ask Alexa are considered new or newly-updated additions to the weekly series.

To Laugh

“Alexa, open Word Play”

Word Play Alexa Skill Icon

Skip this game. 

When I use this command, Alexa confusingly suggests another skill, Puzzle of the Day. If I say no, Alexa then starts the game Word Play, which is what I expected in the first place. Weird.

When I start the game, Alexa gives 3 letters and asks to come up with words that include those letters. I get points for each correct word, which goes on a leaderboard.

It doesn’t sound too fun to me, but it might be better with a few people to play with. Ratings are mixed, with earning 3 out of 5 stars from reviewers.

My advice? Keep looking for better word play games, like this Word Pop.

“Alexa, play Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock”

Ever play the game Rock Paper Scissors? This command is Alexa’s take on the game, with a few extra options.

I had a good idea what this command would do, until I read the last part of the command. Lizard Spock? Hmm. I don’t know about those two.

When I use this command, Alexa counts down from 3 and says one of the following: Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard or Spock.

That’s it! To play again, I have to say the entire phrase again. Too cumbersome to use often. I also tried the command, “retry last command,” with no luck.

Give this command a shot once or twice. Saying it more than that will get annoying, fast.

“Alexa, compute to the last digit the value of pi”

If only Alexa knew the last digit! Use this command to get a cute response to Alexa, including 10 digits or so of pi.

To Listen

“Alexa, what’s Katy Perry’s favorite song from her new album?”

Smile Album Cover

When I use this command, Katy Perry responds herself. She lists two songs: “What Makes a Woman” and “Teary Eyes.”

She also mentions her new album, Smile, which is available on Amazon Music. Free to stream if you are a Prime member.

“Alexa, play ‘My Blood’ by Twenty One Pilots from Amazon Music”

Use this command to play one of Twenty One Pilots’ most-popular songs from 2018 called “My Blood.”

Bit if this command sounds clunky to you, don’t worry. Let’s simplify this command. This song is typically available on all streaming platforms. The artist isn’t needed either. Try this Alexa command instead: “Alexa, play ‘My Blood’.”

“Alexa, play white noise”

This command points to one of the more useful Alexa Skills out there. Use this command to start background noise, like rain, fans, city sounds, or beach waves. 

There are tons of White Noise Skills out there. For instance, now that I have a newborn at home, I‘ve been using this command: “Alexa, play womb sounds.”

“Alexa, play CBS News”

Surprisingly, this command doesn’t play a prerecorded message from CBS. Instead, Alexa jumps right into a segment called “Breaking News.” I’m dropped right in the middle of a story, just like the experience I could expect with changing the channel on my TV.

Use this command if you’re looking for the most current news story, although it’s not clear what new providers are available for this command. For example, Fox News doesn’t give the same experience yet.

To Learn

“Alexa, what should I draw?”

Here’s an interesting use of Alexa—use Amazon’s Voice Assistant to spark art inspiration with suggesting a new thing to draw. 

For instance, each time I give this command, Alexa suggests something different. For example, one time Alexa suggested drawing “what wind looks like if you could see it”. Another time, Alexa suggests to draw a page full of different shapes and patterns. Looks like Alexa likes abstract drawings.

Give this command a shot if you, yourself, would like drawing prompts or if your kids would like some inspiration.

“Alexa, are there any updates from my school?”

Now that schools are starting back up across the country, it seems we’re all holding in our collective breath. With the pandemic going on, it’s important to keep up-to-date with all available school announcements, especially if another outbreak occurs and classes get canceled.

Fortunately, Alexa can help. If your school uses one of the below supported systems, Alexa will be able to update you hands-free. 

  • Canvas
  • InfiniteCampus
  • Coursera
  • ParentSquare
  • Kickboard

Learn more from Amazon on the setup steps required. 

“Alexa, show me nearby restaurants that offer delivery”

This command is pretty nice, especially if you already use Yelp to find restaurants nearby.

To use this command, you need to whip out your phone and open the Alexa App or use an Echo Show.

When I use this command on my Smartphone, Alexa shows a list of 10 or so restaurants near me with ratings from Yelp. Then, Alexa names the first few and asks if I want Alexa to provide directions. 

Next, when I say, “take me to the first one,” Alexa sends a notification that will open up directions.

Since options seem to be limited right now, I’ll be sticking to Flash Briefings

“Alexa, what should I wear to work from home?”

My advice? Skip this command unless you’re shopping for clothes on Amazon.

When I use this command, Alexa recommends clothing: a polo shirt, cropped trousers, and white sneakers. Alexa then sends a notification on my phone, pointing me to various types of clothing I can purchase on Amazon. If this command interests you, see more style commands for Alexa.

In Case You Missed It

While they’re likely new to you, these things to ask Alexa are not considered brand new to this series. Skip this section if you’ve been following along to the Keeping Up with Alexa series.

“Alexa, start my free Audible trial”

This command gets right to the point. Start an Audible free trial with Alexa with just using your voice alone. While this command isn’t new, it’s good to know if you’re looking to pick up Audible anytime soon.

“Alexa, show me featured shows on Red Bull TV”

Use this command to view free video content on your Echo Show. Learn more about this Alexa Skill.

“Alexa, ask Headspace for today’s meditation”

Headspace is a decent way to receive daily meditations from Alexa. Learn more about this command from May 4th’s Alexa Skills.

“Alexa, what are my reminders?”

Reminders are really powerful with Alexa, once you learn the right way to add them.

“Alexa, make a donation”

You’re able to make donations with Alexa, adding a new level of convenience to offering charitable contributions. If you’re interested, view the list of supported charities

“Alexa, open Big Sky”

Get highly-detailed weather reports from this Alexa Skill. But fair warning, this won’t last long. Scroll through to this Big Sky Alexa Skill to learn more.

“Alexa, give me a quote”

Each time this command is promoted from Amazon, a new quote is offered in the quote bank. For instance, this week Alexa gives me a quote from Tiger Woods:

“No matter how good you get, you can always get better, and that’s the exciting part.”

To see the other quote options, check out Information commands.

“Alexa, what’s on my to-do list?”

Have Alexa easily read you what’s on your “to-do” list in the Alexa App. Learn more about this feature via Productivity commands.

“Alexa, find my phone”

Did you know Alexa can call your phone to help you find it? A few months back, I went back and forth with Amazon to clarify some confusion with this skill. Learn how to link your account.

“Alexa, show my Facebook photos”

Once you link your Facebook account to Alexa, you can use Echo Show or Fire TV to play slideshows of your photos with this command.

Looking for more things to ask Alexa? Check out the complete Keeping Up with Alexa series and sign up to receive weekly updates. 

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