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6 unusual Alexa skills to try on your Amazon Echo

Go beyond the ordinary Alexa skills and uncover these useful gems.


By Katie Conner, CNET

By now, you've probably used your Amazon Echo to play music, connect to other smart home devices and to entertain yourself by asking Alexa funny questions. But have you checked out all the skills Alexa has to offer?

After all, you have over 100,000 Alexa skills you can enable, from a beneficial skill that can help diagnose your illnesses to an informative skill that gives you a tidbit of history for the day.

Beyond the basic ones, you can find unusual but genuinely helpful skills. Here are six of our favorite Alexa skills that are often overlooked.


Dr. AI

While Alexa can't replace your physician, it can help diagnose an illness you may have, with the Dr. AI skill. Dr. AI was trained by over 107,000 doctors with 141 specialties. Once enabled, just say "Alexa, talk to Dr. AI," to get started.


Once you tell it about the symptoms you're experiencing, it'll try to find possible medical explanations personalized to your age, gender, medications and more. After the diagnosis, the bot will offer to connect you to an actual doctor.

Again, this isn't a real doctor and if your condition persists, you should visit your local healthcare provider.


Just the Temperature

When you ask Alexa what the temperature is outside, you expect to get just that. Alexa won't stop at just the temp, however, and will continue on with more information about the weather. With the Just the Temperature skill, Alexa will read off only the temperature.

To use the skill, say, "Alexa, ask Just the Temperature what the current temperature is." Now you can get info on the current temperature without hearing about the weather for the rest of the day.


Make Me Smart

If you'd like to stay up to date on current events, try using a skill like Make Me Smart by Marketplace from their podcast also titled Make Me Smart. This skill is hosted by Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood (formerly of CNET!), who tell you about the economy, pop culture, tech and current events. When you're ready to get started, say, "Alexa, make me smart," and you'll get information on a specific topic and why it's important.


If there's something you'd like to know more about and you'd like Make Me Smart to explain, you can submit it directly through the skill.


Beer Goggles

Purely for entertainment, Beer Goggles wants to help you decide when you've had enough. When you enable the Beer Goggles skill, say, "Alexa, open Beer Goggles," to get started.

Alexa will go through a series of humorous questions to decide when it's time to step away from the bar. Once you've answered all the questions, Alexa will judge your level of sobriety.

Remember this skill is designed just for entertainment and should never be used to make the decision to drink more alcohol. Always use your best judgment, and never drink and drive.


This Day in History

If you'd like to learn a little history every day, you'll enjoy the This Day in History skill. Created by the History Channel, this skill will tell you the top events that happened in the past on any date you ask about.


To get started, just say, "Alexa, launch This Day in History." If it mentions something you're particularly interested in, you can find out more information by saying "hear more about this event."


Giant Spoon

If you're looking to kickstart ideas during a meeting at work, the Giant Spoon skill can help you do just that. Start by saying, "Alexa, ask Giant Spoon for help brainstorming," and wait for Alexa to kick an idea to you.

Giant Spoon is a marketing company, so its suggestions are a great way to start a meeting -- especially if you're fresh out of ideas.

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Tech Magazine: 6 unusual Alexa skills to try on your Amazon Echo
6 unusual Alexa skills to try on your Amazon Echo
Go beyond the ordinary Alexa skills and uncover these useful gems.
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