Amazon's Alexa voice assistant is learning new things every day. Most of the amazing things Alexa can do come from its more than 10,000 third-party skills, which can play local radio stations, send text messages, tell you how to mix a drink, or unlock your car.
With Google Home, its 200 or so "conversation actions" are automatically enabled. But on Alexa devices, you have to enable each skill separately, either by voice or via the app. That means you should spend some time searching out and enabling the best skills for you.
Amazon has a directory of skills on the web, but it goes deep and can be hard to navigate. So we scraped the top 200 or so skills in each of Amazon's categories and then eliminated duplicates to find the top 3,121 skills, ordered by Amazon customer rating. In the spreadsheet below, you can see all of the skills or dive into each of Amazon's subcategories. This list is current as of April 20, 2017.
To add a skill, say "Alexa, enable X," with X being the skill name. In the Alexa app, tap the menu button, then Skills. Then type the name of the skill into the search box, go to its page, and tap Enable Skill. Some skills will also ask to be linked to an external account, for instance to order an Uber or Lyft.
Most Alexa skills can be launched by saying, "Alexa, open X." That will start a conversation which will guide you through the skill. Once you know what the skill wants, you can often say, "Alexa, ask X to do Y."
Whether you have an Amazon Echo, an Echo Dot, a Huawei Mate 9, or another Alexa device, adding the right skills can turn your voice assistant into a real friend. To start, check out our list of Best Amazon Alexa Skills, Must-Have Alexa Skills for Your Small Business, or 9 Amusing Skills to Teach Amazon's Alexa. Then dive deep into the list above to add more.