Released in 2014 in the United States, Alexa is the voice assistant ofAmazon and maybe you were lucky enough to find it under your tree during these end of year celebrations! While at the beginning its role of virtual assistant was preponderant, even unique, it is home automation that is now often put forward by its users. But today we are going to go back to basics with you with the basic functions ofAlexa, native ones that will save you time: lists, calendars, reminders, timers and alarms.
No need for skills, these features are native and operate as simply as possible. And this using the application, your voice of course, or even via the screen of an Echo Show.
Timers: Alexa helps you cook
This is probably one of the functions that you will use the most often. One timer Alexa is neither more nor less than a stopwatch that you will launch by voice by contacting Alexa. It works with all devices Amazon Echo, the standards (EchoDot 4, echo 4, Studio, Flex...) but also with those with screen (Echo Show 2, 5, 8, 10, Spot). With these, the interest is that the remaining time will be displayed on the monitor.
How to do ? Just say:
« Alexa, 3 minute timer »
« Alexa, starts a 10 min timer ».
She will answer you "3 minute timer from now ».
If you don't have a screen on your Echo device and want to know how much time is left, ask:
« Alexa, how much time is left on my timer? »
And if you are kind and courteous, she will be happy to answer you!
To give it a nickname, you have to say, for example:
« Alexa, put on a 25-minute strawberry pie timer ”.
An Echo Show will show you the different timers and their names, but if you don't want to ask out loud for the remaining time, you can go through the app. You have to go to " Plus "At the bottom right and" Alarms and timers "Then select" timers ". There you will find those that are in progress.
At the end of the allotted time, a ringtone will alert you. To stop it, say " Alexa, stop the timer " or " Alexa, stop ”. If, on the other hand, you want to stop it before the end, the sentence " Alexa, cancel the timer " works very well.
If the cooking still deserves a few extra minutes, you can ask " Alexa, add 5 minutes to the timer ". Of course, if you've given it a name, include it in the request. To stop them all at the same time, say « Alexa, stop all timers ”.
It is possible to come set the ringtone end if the default one annoys you. Still in the timer section of the app, go to " Parameters »And select your device Amazon Echo. It will thus be proposed to settle not only the ringer volume, but also choose the one you like just below.
The reminders: Alexa helps you not to forget anything
The reminders Alexa have the function of asking Alexa de notify you at a specific time following a prior request: medication, appointment with the dentist, birthday of your nephew, videoconference meeting with your colleagues ... It is really very practical and useful on a daily basis to organize your day or for the elderly in particular, do not forget a treatment or an appointment with the doctor.
How to do ? There are several input channels for the voice:
- Same day reminder . " Alexa, remind me to take my meds at 12 o'clock ”or“ Alexa, remind me to stay calm with my in-laws this afternoon ”
- Delayed reminder . " Alexa, make me think about having the cake tomorrow ”. She will ask you the time and confirm.
If you have Echo Show, the reminder appears directly following the request and will then be displayed when you ask Alexa your current reminders or with home screen rotations. Otherwise, you can go through the app. Moreover, this one will allow you to go much further.
Indeed, you will be able to have a more complete configuration of this function:
Go to " Plus "Then" Reminders " :
- See all recalls that you will have created, all devices combined.
- Modify the current reminder (s). Select the one that interests you and different modifications will be proposed:
- Modify the name of the reminder,
- Change device from which the announcement will be made. By default, it is the device to which you have made the request that will notify you, but you can change it from the drop-down list and even advertise on a device group if you've created one.
- Change the date of the reminder,
- Activate repetition : this is very good because a reminder can be recurrent and necessary one or more times a day, week, month, year or other. You can set the number and times, which is very convenient for taking medication or for remembering to feed the baby at set times.
- Set a new time,
- Assign callback to someone from your family Alexa (Amazon household).
It is possible, in the same parameters to create one by doing " Add reminder ". The modifications are identical:
- The name of the callback,
- The device from which the announcement will be made.
- The initial date,
- The person to whom it is addressed.
Once the hour arrives, Alexa will warn you on the selected Echo device (s) by addressing the configured person (by default the one for whom the device is registered). You will also receive a notification on your smartphone via the app. If you have a device with a display, the reminder will also appear.
Calendars: Alexa, Google, Apple, Outlook
Be careful, do not confuse reminders and the agenda. The reminders only stay local. If you want to create an appointment for example, it is necessary to synchronize your current calendar (Gmail, Apple or Outlook) with the application Alexa. We had already mentioned the use of schedule in routines Alexa, which is still relevant today, even if Alexa also offers its own calendar, an internal calendar that works by voice and with the application.
To keep it simple, go to " Plus "," Parameters " and " Calendar ". The first time, come and select the calendar service to associate, with your identifiers. This will also sync with Alexa what is already noted in the latter.
If you want to come and insert a new entry, nothing could be simpler: " Alexa, add an appointment tomorrow at 11am " or " Alexa, add an event tomorrow at 11am ". It will then ask you for the name to give it. If you have an Echo Show or Spot, your next appointments will appear on the screen as soon as they are created but also during the alternation of the home pages.
The event that you will have created will also be directly integrated into your reference calendar. (Gmail, Apple or Outlook). And the reverse is also true. If you manually add an appointment to your personal calendar, it will go back to Alexa and it will display this upcoming event.
Looking closely, you will realize that there is even two calendars available. Your personal calendar (which is the default one) and the calendar Alexa. The latter is in fact the family calendar, purely local if you wish, where everyone can add their own entries and make them visible to all. Very good not to forget the meeting parents - teachers, missing an appointment with the doctor or other.
Alarms and alarm clocks
Alarms are more akin to alarm clocks, but not only. You can set an alarm to remind you of stopping a task in progress, get out of a well-deserved nap or wake up in the morning. Even if for the morning, a routine Alexa can be even more practical.
The operating mode is between that of the timer and that of the reminder. The easiest way to create an alarm and say:
- The same day : " Alexa, set an alarm for 11:11 »
- Delayed : " Alexawake me up tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. " or " Alexa, set an alarm for tomorrow 14:00 p.m. »
For the alarm clock function, you can even go further by saying:
« Alexawake me up tomorrow morning at 7 am with Queen »
And you will have an alarm clock to music or radio (from your default streaming app). It will ask you if you want to make this alarm clock recurrent or if you want the requested music to be the default for the morning.
You can configure the set by going to:
Plus > Alarms and timers > alarms
From there, several possibilities are available to you:
- For existing alarms you will be able to come first activate and deactivate them whether they are recurring or not. But it is possible to go further:
- Determine a repetition : none, daily, weekdays, weekends or as desired (only certain days).
- Change the date
- Change the music or ringing.
- Create an alarm directly. To do this, press " Add an Alarm ". Then :
- Choose the time,
- The device where the alarm will go off. By default, when you make a request by voice, it is the one to whom you address yourself who will raise the alarm. By creating it directly via the application, you will choose the one that should be activated.
- Possible repetition
- The starting date
- And the ringtone. There, however, no streaming music (you have to go through a routine for that).
Lists, notes and reminders Alexa
Lists are digital reminders that you can create and modify at will. By default, you have two pre-existing lists: Shopping et Things to do. But there are several ways to create new ones. The quickest way is to do it by voice saying for example " Alexa, create a Christmas list ". But you can also go through the application by going to " Plus "At the bottom right and" Lists and Notes "Then" Create a list ».
Once done, it's really easy to add things to your lists.
- For example, to prepare your shopping, just say: " Alexa, add sugar to my shopping list "," Alexa, add whiskey to my shopping list ”… And automatically, this will be incremented in the existing list.
- You can also go through the application, enter the list and do " Add item ". It will be possible to choose a product from a list or to create a new one.
Once in the stores, all you have to do is pick up your smartphone, open the application Alexa, go to the list and check when you put the listed products in your cart. Practice not? All lists work the same, just say the name of the list to add your request to.
« Alexa, add buying Christmas presents to my to-do list »
If you have an Echo with screen, ask Alexa to show you your shopping list or things to do to directly see it appear.
Finally, a novelty has just appeared in the application of our voice assistant in the United States: the reminders Alexa ! Taking the appearance of the famous Post-it notes, these notes intended to be displayed on the screens of our Amazon Echo Show coincide with the release of the new Echo Show 15 and will soon be available all over the world.