So you’ve set up your smart assistant, you’ve learned the basics, and you’re well on your way to integrating it into your daily life. Congrats! Except are you really using it to its full potential? Probably not. Smart assistants have tons of features aside from helping you with your to-do list or playing your favorite podcast. It’s nearly impossible to explore them all.
We’ll help with that. Below are a few skills that come with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant that you probably haven’t explored yet. Dive in and let your life become infinitely easier.
Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant can sync up with your smart bulbs to do some pretty amazing things. Aside from asking Alexa to turn on all of your lights, there are also some more advanced features to play around with. Ask Alexa to turn the bedroom lights to candlelight or enable Philips Hue scenes by saying “Alexa, turn on Relax in the kitchen.” Your Google Home has similar Hue capabilities, allowing you to dim lights, adjust colors, and more all without lifting a finger.
Exercising from the comfort of your own home is luxurious in theory but hardly ever works out the way you imagined. You’ve folded yourself between your coffee table and your arm chair, snagged some old biology book as weights, and are trying and failing to follow confusing directions on your phone.
Avoid that by turning Amazon Alexa into a personal trainer. Just head to the Health and Fitness section of Amazon Alexa Skills site and find the workout that’s right for you and the equipment you already own. There’s a seven-minute workout, a HIIT workout, and more. You’ll get all the benefits of a guided class or training session without having to step foot inside a gym.
Whether you’re just having a few people over for drinks or hosting a horde of guests, your smart assistant can help make entertaining more efficient from beginning to end. Both Alexa and Google Assistant can talk you through any recipes you’ll need to make, so you avoid frantically paging through a cookbook. You can also ask both of them to find the perfect music by saying “Alexa, play relaxing music,” or “Okay Google, play some jazz.” When your guests arrive, you can entertain them by asking Alexa to play Jeopardy.
You can finally let your remote fall permanently into those couch cushion cracks. Just use Alexa as a remote through a smart hub like the Logitech Harmony Hub, which will facilitate communication between your television and your Alexa device. This way, you can turn your television on and off, change channels, and control volume, all through your voice alone. Harmony works similarly with Google Home, too.
Smart assistants aren’t just for humans. Your Amazon Echo can help you with pet care, so you can spend more time hanging with your four-legged family members. Enable one of the Pets & Animals skills, and you’ll unload a slew of helpful capabilities. For example, you can track the last time you fed or walked your pet, or ask Alexa if a certain foods will harm him. And if you don’t have a real dog, you can enable Alexa to bark or growl on command to keep intruders out.
Nandita Raghuram is the Content Director at Studio@Gizmodo. She tweets here.