Who is “Alexa” and why is she so popular?

The Amazon Echo (with the artificial intelligence called “Alexa”) is a product made by Amazon that can make your home life easier and more comfortable. Alexa can be found in many different Amazon devices, from the smaller Echo Dot to the new Amazon Microwave. But just how useful is Alexa, especially for older users?

Here are a few of the most convenient features:

  • Music and the radio are easily accessible through an “Alexa”-enabled device.  For example, speaking the command “Alexa, play Frank Sinatra” would prompt Alexa to play music from the timely great.

  • Getting the local weather forecast. By asking the question “Alexa, what’s the weather like today?” you’ll receive information more quickly than if you are watching the television and waiting for the local news station to show your area.

  • “Alexa, turn on the lights” is an advanced feature that works with any Smart Lightbulbs (for example, Phillips Hue). This command will prompt Alexa to turn on the lights in your home. For more advanced users, you can name each of your lights and ask Alexa to turn on those specific lights instead.

  • The News is another nifty feature of Alexa. Asking “Alexa, what is in the news?” can yield the top stories of the day.

  • Alexa can create organized lists as well. Instead of grabbing a notepad and a pencil, simply state “Alexa, add bananas to grocery list.” You can pull up these lists on your phone later while browsing through the store.

  • Alexa can also maintain several timers at once. If your Alexa is in your kitchen, you can say “Alexa, set pasta timer for ten minutes” and she will let you know when the timer has ended. You can also check the timer by stating “Alexa, check timer.”