Internet of Things Amazon

How to add Alexa skills to your Amazon Echo

You've set up your Amazon Echo-now what do you do with it? You add skills to get more value out of it! Here's how to find them and get them installed on your Alexa unit.

Amazon

Having an Amazon Echo--or an Alexa compatible device--can be a real time saver. The benefits, however, come with a caveat: You have to customize your experience if you really want it to work for you.

An Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Tap can do a lot of stuff out of the box but it's the additional skills that make owning an Alexa-enabled product really worthwhile.

Adding skills to an Alexa product can be tricky if you don't know where to look, and to make matters worse there is more than one way to add them. Here's how to search for skills, add them to your device, and really make your smart speaker soar.

Adding Alexa skills using a web browser

If you've set up your Echo you already know it needs to be tied to an Amazon account, and that account is the one you add apps with. Amazon buried the Alexa Skills page in menus, so if you've had trouble finding it don't feel bad.

Click on the link above to open the Alexa Skills page and you'll get a page that looks a lot like any other app store homepage. From there you can search for skills, browse by category, and select skills to add.

See: Amazon Echo: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)

Figure A

Image: Amazon

Click on a skill and you'll get a more detailed description (Figure A). You can also install it from here by clicking Enable. Be sure to make note of the text in the speech bubbles--those are the keywords you need to speak for Alexa to activate the skill.

Adding Alexa skills using the Alexa mobile app

Having the Alexa app installed on a mobile device is essential for setting up an Alexa-compatible device, and it's also a convenient portal into managing Alexa-related Amazon account settings.

You can see everything you've said to your Echo, what it heard, add and remove devices, and add skills.

See: Amazon Echo: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)

Figure B

Image: TechRepublic/Brandon Vigliarolo

Adding skills is done in essentially the same way as it is on Amazon's website. Navigate to the Skills page using the menu on the left side of the app (Figure B) and you'll be able to search and install just like you do on the web.

Adding Alexa skills using your voice

You can also add skills to Alexa by telling it to add a skill. Just say "Alexa, add (skill name) skill" and your device should reply that it was added.

Adding skills verbally is definitely the simplest method, provided you know the exact name of the skill. Accuracy is key, and I found out the hard way that there are some items for sale on Amazon that have names that are very similar to skills.

If you know the name of the skill you want to add speak the command exactly as written above and you should be all set. Definitely the coolest way to add Alexa skills.


Also see:

Visit TechRepublic