10 Women On Amazon's Alexa Team Share Their Favorite Alexa Features

Amazon's Alexa is a woman of many talents. She can perform more than 90,000 skills (and counting) that go far beyond telling us what time it is. From the practical (need a reminder of your next doctor's appointment or where you parked your car?) to the cozy ("Alexa: It's movie night"), there's really nothing Alexa can't do to streamline your daily routine. Two personal favorites: "Alexa, play calming sounds" and "Alexa, play a song that I haven't heard in a while."
The options are literally endless — especially if you include the skill blueprints you can program yourself, tailored to your own personal routine — so it's easy to feel overwhelmed by indecision when it comes to optimizing your smart home device. And is there any better way to get to know the full spectrum of Alexa's capabilities than from the women who know her best? Ahead, ten women on Amazon's Alexa team share their favorite Alexa features — from bath-time help to grocery list-making.
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1 of 10

I send Alexa blueprints as birthday and holiday cards.

"I love to travel and rely on Alexa to navigate new places. She gives me the weather as I pack, checks traffic to the airport, and recommends places to find dinner in and around my hotel.

"I send Alexa blueprints as birthday and holiday cards. For example, my dad has a contagious laugh, so for Father’s Day, I used a blueprint to make him a skill of dad jokes he’d find hilarious. They’re delivered instantly, so I haven’t sent a belated card since!" — Rebecca J. L. Miller, principal product manager, Alexa
2 of 10

My favorite hack is that I have a Ring Alarm contact sensor on my fridge.

"My favorite Alexa skill is using the Echo Show 5 in my office to ask Alexa to show me my 'doggy cam' (a Ring Stick Up Cam I have set up at home). That way I can see what shenanigans my new puppy is up to while I am away.

"My favorite hack is that I have a Ring Alarm contact sensor on my fridge. When I open it, the Echo Dot in my kitchen reminds me to 'make good choices.'" — Leila Rouhi, president at Ring, an Amazon company
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3 of 10

I love telling Alexa to read a book to me until I fall asleep.

"I like how Alexa can easily shuffle all of my favorite songs when I don’t know what I want to listen to. I say, ‘Play songs like the one I heard recently,’ and it’s like she intuitively curates a personal playlist for me.

"I also love telling Alexa to read a book to me until I fall asleep. I can tell her to read louder or pause, and I set a sleep timer for her to stop. It’s amazing!" — Indu Lakshmi Prasad, managing editor, Alexa India
4 of 10

You can ask Alexa questions like: 'Alexa, time remaining on the lasagna timer?'

"My family and I can’t live without our Alexa timers. Our Echo Show on the kitchen counter helps two distracted parents make dinner on most evenings by keeping track of multiple cooking timers. You can also ask Alexa questions like: 'Alexa, time remaining on the lasagna timer?'

"Also, instead of yelling from the top of the stairs that the bath is ready for our toddler, we now more gracefully Drop In on the Echo in the kitchen from our Echo in the bath upstairs to make the announcement." — Rachel Jiang, Head of Alexa Health & Wellness
5 of 10

I’ll just say 'Alexa, play MasterChef Junior,' and the device will turn on my TV.

"Fire TV Cube is probably my favorite tech in the house. When I’m coming home from work and I’m putting away groceries or pouring a glass of wine, I’ll just say, 'Alexa, play MasterChef Junior,' and the device will turn on my TV, open Netflix, select my profile, and start playing wherever I left off. All those things happen in the background without ever having to lift a finger — it’s sort of magic.

"Also, I can just say, 'Alexa, find The Office,' and she will show me all the places where I can watch it. The option that’s free or the option that I’m already logged into will be the first one I see." — Heather Dawson, global head of product marketing for Fire TV
6 of 10

I created a routine with Alexa where I get a reminder at 15 minutes to go.

"I take public transportation to work and have to reliably get out the door on time. I created a routine with Alexa where I get a reminder at 15 minutes to go, and then about 10 minutes later, where she says, 'You should be ready to leave.' Using this routine, I don’t have to watch the clock as I rumble around getting ready. And for those days where I am running late, I like that I can just say: 'Alexa, remind me again in two minutes.'

"This past winter, we added a smart home device to our heating oil tank. I could say to it: 'Alexa, open smart oil gauge' and then ask, 'How much fuel is left?' or 'When do I have to refill?' I realize that might not make any sense to people living in warmer climates, but we’ve been thrilled with it." — Janet Slifka, senior manager, Alexa Applied Modeling and Data Science
7 of 10

I love the efficiency of making lists.

"My husband and I love the efficiency of making lists. We have a boat list, a grocery list, and specific store lists, and we can both add to them via voice or the Alexa app. If one of us is at the store, we can pull up the list and have the latest needs right there, up to the minute. No more 'I forgot the list on the counter' phone calls.

"I also love how you can tell Alexa which songs you like. She’ll track them, so when you say, 'Alexa, play my likes,' she makes your own personal station." — Linda Ranz, technical adviser to the SVP of Devices and Services
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8 of 10

I use Alexa to listen to Audible while I’m getting ready for work.

"I love to read, so I use Alexa to listen to Audible while I’m getting ready for work and for bed. It’s fantastic, because I get an extra half hour to hour of reading. The Broken Earth trilogy has fantastic narration on Audible — but the only downside is that my electric toothbrush makes it hard to hear!" — Kathryn Chinn, senior manager, product management on Kindle e-readers
9 of 10

The ability to ask Alexa to delete what I just said.

"One feature I love is the ability to ask Alexa to delete what I just said. Sometimes I might ask a sensitive question, and being able to easily and immediately delete by voice makes sure I have peace of mind.

"I love using Tap to Alexa — it’s an accessibility setting designed for customers who can’t speak to Alexa, but I use it all the time to ask Alexa to show me my baby bedroom camera, so I can do that silently and not wake him up!" — Beatrice Geoffrin, director, Alexa Trust
10 of 10

The Song Quiz skill for Alexa.

"One of my favorite services is location-based routines. I have the new Alexa-enabled phone mount from iOttie in my car, and I set up a routine to make sure my lights are off in my house when I leave in the morning. When I hop in the car to head to work, Alexa knows if any lights are still on and can automatically turn them off for me. This is especially helpful with the lights in my kids’ rooms — which are inevitably left on.

"The Song Quiz skill for Alexa is a fabulous way to pass the time and keep the whole family involved when we are in the car together. We take turns selecting a decade and laugh about the songs and artists we do or don’t know. My husband and I have learned a lot about current music from our kids, and we have taught them a lot about earlier decades with our knowledge. It’s a great way to be engaged as a family while we’re in the car." — Arianne Walker, chief evangelist, Alexa Auto
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