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eight stunning issues Alexa cannot but do

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

More helpful options are within the assistant’s future, due to third-party add-ons known as expertise and a rising checklist of native integrations that Amazon has added.

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

Editors’ observe: Originally revealed April 1, 2016, this text is recurrently up to date to incorporate new options and knowledge. Features that have been beforehand on this checklist however have since been added are stringing instructions collectively and evening mode, which is not an official function however will be completed with routines.

Actions on IFTTT

Thanks to IFTTT integration, Alexa now works with dozens of good dwelling gadgets 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 by any means. Alexa can solely be used as a set off in IFTTT. That means I am unable to, for instance, full a activity in Todoist and have Alexa play a tune. Or as CNET’s Ry Crist prompt, you may’t have Alexa play sound bites, similar to a canine barking, when movement is detected or a door opens in the midst of the evening.

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Custom set off names or voices

Alexa gadgets have solely 4 phrases that may wake them: “Alexa,” “Amazon,” “Echo” or “Computer.” If you desire a actually custom-made wake phrase, you are sadly out of luck.

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


If you employ the “Simon says” command, Alexa will repeat something you say. Even in case you converse plenty of expletives, Alexa will repeat your phrases, solely the swearing will likely be bleeped out. Some folks would possibly want she did in any other case.

Command shortcuts

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

With Alexa, the closest you may presently get to that is utilizing IFTTT. You can 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 cannot create a shortcut command to play your favourite music or throw footage or movies to a close-by Fire TV Stick.

Change voices

Recently, Google made it so you would change the voice of its Assistant between six new voices (together with John Legend later this yr). Apple has constructed up the alternatives for female and male voices for Siri in a number of languages and accents since 2014. This is one thing Amazon has but to discover with Alexa.

Now, nevertheless, you may change Alexa to have a British accent or converse in German. But they’re all in the identical, robotic voice.

Record a voice memo

While Alexa audio system can now retailer your brief notes, it may well’t document voice memos, which is odd, contemplating it information every thing you say. To that impact, you may see every thing you’ve got stated (and play the recordings again) within the Alexa app on Android or iOS and at

Call 911

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

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

Location-based reminders

While Google might need been gradual so as to add reminders to Google Home, it lately added a function that leapfrogged Alexa’s personal reminders: location-based reminder notifications. You can create a reminder per regular, however whenever you add a location tag to the request similar to, “once I get dwelling” or “whereas I am on the grocery retailer,” Google Assistant will ping your cellphone with the reminder notification whenever you attain that particular location.

While Alexa does do reminders fairly effectively, its reminders are time-based solely.

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