“Alexa! What is love?”
Alexa – This is the name of the virtual language assistant for the online shopping giant Amazon. In addition to creating to-do and shopping lists, the Echo can also act as an alarm clock, stream audiobooks and podcasts, and answer all kinds of questions about weather and traffic conditions — Alexa can also take smart control of its users’ home devices. The entertainment aspect is not neglected, as language assistants of this type are programmed to conduct full-fledged conversations with their users – according to technology portal Pocket-lint, for example, a popular conversation starter for funny and philosophical conversations with virtual conversation partner “Alexa, what is love?” or “Alexa, what came first? Chicken or egg?”.
The following tips will make using the Amazon voice assistant more successful:
Change the echo of the alert word
If the user has the same or similar name as the language assistant – for example Alexa or Alex – it may happen that the Echo activates more than required. To avoid misunderstanding, the alert word can be changed: in addition to “Alexa”, “Computer”, “Amazon” and “Echo” are still available. To invoke the selection menu in the Alexa app, you must first open the “Settings” option. There under “Echo setting” the “Wake word” option is selected. A menu appears from which an alternate alert word can be selected.
The required settings can be made via the Alexa app and via the corresponding browser link.
Flash personalization brief
Save time by sharing news, weather, and traffic information under the keyword “Alexa, what’s new?” or “Alexa, turn on my flash feed.” To set this up, you must open the Alexa app or browser link. The required flash feed information can then be specified in the settings.
Sports update works in a similar way to flash briefing: favorite teams must be selected in settings so that users receive information about them as soon as the “Alexa sports update” command is issued.
As a traveller, the daily commute to work, university or school can be checked for potential traffic jams or train cancellations – a job that is likely to regain popularity after the pandemic. The corresponding options can be found under “Settings” and “Traffic”.
“Alexa! What’s up today?”
Personal diaries can be added to the voice assistant’s information store by going to Settings and selecting the “Calendar” option. There you can then set whether to Google-. Apple or Microsoft calendar data must be added. Once the desired calendar is selected and set up, the language assistant can be asked about events and appointments on the given day or dates.
With the Alexa voice assistant, purchases through Amazon can be made through the main account — a feature particularly useful for kids and scammers to order all kinds of things that the original account owner didn’t authorize to buy. This option can be disabled via Settings in the Alexa app. For implementation, the account settings are called up and the “Voice purchase” option is deactivated. Another way to protect payments is to set a voice PIN that must be spoken before each purchase.
In order to exploit the full audio potential of the voice assistant, it can be connected to a speaker or speaker – via bluetooth or cable. This gives your Echo a more powerful speakerphone for speeches or music requests. The Alexa app can be used to fill several rooms with different music: to do this, you must first open the “Devices” area, where devices, groups, and scenes must be selected. A group can be added and named individually using the combination symbol. The required hardware can then be added to this. To use the multi-room experience, you can ‘Play Music’ [Gruppenname]” essential.
In addition to music services like Amazon Music, Spotify, and Deezer, audiobook providers like Audible can also be connected to voice assistants. If a matching audiobook provider is added, the audiobook will be issued via the “Alexa, read a book” command.
Smart TV Experience
Voice assistants can connect to many other devices within range, including smart TVs. To do this, the Alexa app opens first, where the “Devices” option can be selected. Clicking the plus icon will start a search for devices in the vicinity of the language assistant. If the TV is displayed within the selection, it can be added and then played hands-free.
Multilingual families often have difficulty using language assistants. However, the multilingual mode that Amazon created specifically for such cases can help. To activate this, you must first open the Alexa app to go to Settings and open the device settings. The corresponding device can then be selected, from which the desired language combination can then be confirmed in the language selection menu. Supported languages depend on where you live. For example, in the United States there is a mixed combination of English to Spanish, while in Canada there is an option to select a combination of English and French.
The new Alexa Guard function makes it possible to increase the security of your four walls. If this function is activated via Alexa under the “More” and “Settings” menu item, the Echo pays more attention to noise when the occupants of the apartment or house are away. Guard Plus, which costs $50 a year, may call the police if the voice assistant detects unusual noises.
Usually a language assistant already has a wide range of different functions, which can, however, be expanded to additional capabilities, for example by adding additional devices via the corresponding application. In this way, smart home functions such as turning on smart heaters or electric blinds can be controlled via Alexa.
Ina Warkus / Editor finanzen.ch
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