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Popular ways to use smart speakers like Alexa

Question: I've been hearing so much about smart speakers that I've started to think about getting one for myself. But I'm not sure how I would actually use it. What are the most popular uses of these devices?

Answer: Smart speakers, like Alexa-enabled Echo products or Google Home products, can perform a wide variety of functions. Here are just a few:

  • Play music. You can tell your smart speaker to play your favorite radio station. It can also play music from apps (called "skills") like Pandora.
  • Tell you the weather forecast or news updates. Just ask your speaker to tell you the weather forecast or news headlines, and it will do exactly that.
  • Set timers. You can use the smart speaker like a kitchen timer -- just ask it to set a timer for the amount of time you need.
  • Perform voice searches. This action is similar to doing a Google search on your computer, only you use your voice and get a voice response back.
  • Play games. Some of the skills include fun games like Jeopardy! or Twenty Questions.
  • Operate your smart home. Connect smart appliances, light bulbs, thermostats, and other items in your home to your smart device, then use your voice to command them.
  • Make phone calls. There are several ways you can make phone calls with your smart device, including linking it with your Skype account.

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