9 stunning issues Alexa cannot but do

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Even for an always-listening assistant in a linked speaker, Amazon’s Alexa can do rather a lot. It will probably reorder necessities, get you a Domino’s pizza and name an Uber. The Echo can stream virtually any audio, management your good house and wake you up each morning.

Extra helpful options are within the assistant’s future, because of third-party add-ons referred to as Expertise and a rising listing of native integrations that Amazon has added.

That stated, there’s nonetheless a lot Alexa cannot do — issues that, at instances, appear to be no-brainers.

Editors’ word: Initially revealed April 1, 2016, this text is often up to date to incorporate new options and data.

Actions on IFTTT

Due to IFTTT integration, Alexa now works with dozens of good house units and can be utilized to create duties in Todoist, or to set off a number of recipes with a single phrase.

The shortfall of Alexa’s IFTTT integration is the shortage of any actions in anyway. Alexa can solely be used as a set off in IFTTT. Which means I can not, for instance, full a job in Todoist and have Alexa play a tune. Or as CNET’s Ry Crist prompt, you’ll be able to’t have Alexa play sound bites, corresponding to a canine barking, when movement is detected or a door opens in the midst of the evening.

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String instructions

In order for you Alexa to do multiple factor, you’ll be able to’t inform it every thing you need it to do without delay. As an example, saying, “Alexa activate the lights, play the Night Chill playlist on Spotify, and switch the temperature up,” will not work as meant.

Presently, you will need to divide each command into its personal assertion:

  • “Alexa, activate the lights.”
  • “Alexa, play Night Chill playlist on Spotify.”
  • “Alexa, flip the temperature up.”

You may, nevertheless, lump a number of good house controls right into a single command with Routines. However routines will not work with simply any instructions — solely those included, corresponding to certainly one of a number of preset responses from Alexa, good house controls or visitors, information and climate updates.

Customized set off names or voices

Alexa units have solely 4 phrases that may wake them: Alexa, Amazon, Echo or Pc. In order for you a very personalized wake phrase, you are sadly out of luck.

And in the event you’re something however a local English speaker, otherwise you aren’t keen on a feminine voice for Alexa, there are at present no choices for customizing both of these settings.


For those who use the “Simon says” command, Alexa will repeat something you say. Even in the event you converse a variety of expletives, Alexa will repeat your phrases, solely the swearing will probably be bleeped out. Some folks would possibly want she did in any other case.

Command shortcuts

Google additionally lately added a function it calls Shortcuts to Google Residence ($129.00 at Dell Residence). Shortcuts are kind of like a textual content expander in your good speaker in you can assign one thing that’s a lot simpler or quicker to say to a way more difficult command. For instance, you would possibly wish to change “OK, Google, present me photographs of my household from final yr on the TV,” to “OK, Google, cheer me up.”

With Alexa, the closest you’ll be able to at present get to that is utilizing IFTTT. You may say, “Alexa, set off good evening,” and have all of the lights in the home flip off and all of the doorways lock. The distinction is, this IFTTT integration is restricted to linking Alexa to exterior companies. You may’t create a shortcut command to play your favourite music or throw photos or movies to a close-by Fireplace TV Stick.

Change voices

Not too long ago, Google made it so you might change the voice of its Assistant between female and male. Apple has constructed up the alternatives for female and male voices for Siri in a number of languages and accents since 2014. That is one thing Amazon has but to discover with Alexa. 

Now, nevertheless, you’ll be able to change Alexa to have a British accent or converse in German.

Report a voice memo

Whereas Alexa audio system can now retailer your brief notes, it may’t document voice memos, which is odd, contemplating it data every thing you say. To that impact, you’ll be able to see every thing you’ve got stated (and play the recordings again) within the Alexa app on Android or iOS and at alexa.amazon.com.

Name 911

You could have heard studies that Alexa saved the lives of a girl and her little one who had been being held hostage. The speaker was allegedly used to name 911, which alerted the native authorities and, ultimately, deescalated after a six-hour standoff.

Many of the story is true, besides Alexa cannot name 911 or different emergency companies. It will probably place calls to most landlines and cellular numbers, however it may’t name 911, 1-800 or 1-900 numbers.

Evening mode

Google lately rolled out a function for Google Residence audio system referred to as Evening Mode, which robotically limits the quantity of the speaker to be used late at evening.

Alexa has a Do Not Disturb mode, which can silence notifications and different alerts. However Evening Mode on Google Residence robotically lowers the quantity of music playback and different audio on a schedule. Evening Mode may also dim the brightness of the indicator lights on high of the Google Residence speaker.

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