Amazon Alexa is a very popular, very complete and very easy to use voice assistant. But how does it work? How to take advantage of it? We tell you everything.
It was in 2011 that the first voice assistants appeared on smartphones. Today, these have become much more democratized, they are present almost everywhere in our lives, in our homes, but also in our cars, in our headphones and earphones, and others. To date, more than 20 million French people use Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple Siri. And for them, the voice assistant improves everyday life. The article below focuses on the solution offered by the American retail giant Amazon.
What is Alexa?
Alexa is one of the first voice assistants to venture outside of smartphones. Created by Amazon, it offers many features and skills while remaining very easy to use. Best of all, it’s scalable and highly adaptive.
The easiest way to take advantage of Alexa on a daily basis is to use it via a connected speaker. On this point, you are spoiled for choice. Amazon’s Echo – Dot or Show – range is already extensive, but there are also many third-party products that integrate Amazon Alexa.
Once plugged in, your speaker can be placed anywhere in your home. However, prefer an open space, about 20 cm from a wall and without any obstacle for the sound quality to be the best. Depending on what room it’s in, you won’t necessarily use it the same way. This means that several are often placed in different rooms.
The speaker is configured via the Alexa application or directly via the screen – if it has one -. And it must have internet access to work.
App download and login
To get started, you need to download the Alexa app, from Google Play or the App Store depending on your smartphone, and install it. Log in with your Amazon account, or create one if necessary. You will need to enter the country in which you live.
To set up your Echo device, go to the “Devices” tab, click the + in the top right and choose “Amazon Echo”. Select the device type — Echo Dot, Echo Plus, etc — and follow the steps until you find the device and add it to your account.
Once the speaker is connected to Wi-Fi and set up, simply say “Alexa” followed by your request. You can change the keyword “Alexa” to “Amazon” or “Echo” if you wish. The point of a voice assistant is to be smart, up to a point, and to respond to your requests.
For this, Alexa has native features and “skills”, features that you can activate on demand. To install them, you have to search for them on amazon.fr or directly from the Alexa app. Then launch them by saying “Alexa, [nom du skill]”. There are some for all needs, some rather simple, others very complex.
What can you do with Amazon Alexa?
That’s the whole point of it, after all. And the answer is simple: everything. Or almost. With the native features, skills and possibilities offered to developers, nothing seems to stand in the way of voice assistants.
There are very basic functions, to manage the speaker itself, get answers on a wide variety of topics, launch searches, control the music, etc. But it is also possible to act on other connected devices, control connected objects in your home, trigger a series of complex actions. Your imagination is the only limit. And Amazon does not hesitate to go far into delirium, if one can say so, by considering having its assistant speak with the voice of your deceased loved ones.
Namely, however, all the commands you speak after the keyword are recorded in your history to improve the experience and further personalize it. If you want to delete these recordings, go to Settings, then “Alexa and your personal information”.