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6 things your Amazon Alexa and Google Home can do that might surprise you

Whether you have an Amazon Echo or a Google Home, your smart home hub has an amazing virtual assistant that’s always there to help you stay organized, in the know about news and weather, and answer general questions. However, there are likely a list of things you didn’t know they can do that can help make your life easier — or at least give you a good laugh. Our experts share some of their favorite tips and tricks for Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant.

“Alexa, are we in the Matrix?” Funny things to ask Alexa

In need of a good laugh? We all are right about now. Luckily, Alexa is capable of far more than making everyday tasks like ordering groceries and turning the lights on simpler — Alexa can be your own personal boredom buster. Here are a few things to ask or say to Alexa to help crack a smile:

Things to ask Amazon Echo Alexa smart home hub
  • Alexa, tell me a “yo mama” joke.
  • Alexa, do you have any pets?
  • Alexa, I’ve got 99 problems.
  • Alexa, do you know the muffin man?
  • Alexa, how was your day?
  • Alexa, tell me a Star Wars joke. (Or fill in the blank with another favorite show, like Dr. Who)
  • Alexa, my name is Inigo Montoya.
  • Alexa, drop a beat.

Funny things to ask your Google Home

Alexa doesn’t have the funny smart home hub market cornered — Google Assistant has plenty of entertainment up its sleeve too. All you have to do is ask:

  • OK Google, will you tell me a story?
  • Hey Google, what’s the best pick-up line?
  • Hey Google, sing me a song.
  • OK Google, make me laugh.
  • Hey Google, can you beatbox for me?
  • Hey Google, let’s play musical chairs.
  • OK Google, let’s play trivia.
  • Hey Google, do you believe in the tooth fairy?

Hey Google, OK Google and… Hey Boo Boo?

Google Assistant Wake Words

Yes, you read that right: Boo Boo. If you’re a proud owner of a Google Home device, you’re already familiar with the two ways to wake up your Google Assistant with the usual, “Hey Google” or “OK Google.” But did you know it also answers to Boo Boo? Google loves a good pet name and it’ll still give an accurate response. But let’s be honest, it’s hard not to say, “Hey Boo Boo” without laughing.

I got skills, they’re multiplying: How to set up Alexa skills

The Alexa Skills library has tons of useful and fun skills that you can enable to get the most out of your device. Everything from games, to talking to your cat when you’re away – with over 15,000 skills to choose from, Alexa can do something useful for everyone.

How to enable Alexa skills:

  1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  2. Tap the  icon in the upper left corner
  3. Tap Skills & GamesFrom here you can browse or search for a skill
  4. When you find the one you want tap it. In the skill page, tap Enable to use.

Here are some of our experts’ picks for best Alexa skills:

  • I’ll take Skills for $200, Alex: Are you a trivia buff? Alexa has a skill for that. Enable the Jeopardy! skill to play the game at home and impress your family with all of your random knowledge.
  • Tune your guitar: With the Guitar Tuner skill, you can tune your instrument by listening to one or all of the notes on a 6 string guitar. You’ll be playing an in-tune, rousing rendition of “Sweet Caroline” in no time.
  • Plan a vacation: After the era of social distancing is over, we’ll all be hankering to get out of the house to explore, and Alexa can help. If you have a Kayak account setup, you can enable the Kayak Alexa skill and ask things like, “Alexa, ask Kayak where can I go for $400?” or “Alexa, ask Kayak to book a hotel” to help you plan a quick getaway.
  • Catch a ride: Enable rideshare program skills like Lyft or Uber, then link up your account to your Alexa, and you can catch a ride simply by saying, “Alexa, ask Lyft to request a ride.” Perfect for when you need a few extra minutes to get ready, even though you’ve already told friends you’re on your way.

Can’t find your phone? Google Assistant can help

Misplaced your phone… again? You know it’s somewhere in the house, but as far as where, your guess is as good as mine. If your phone is signed in to the same account as your home hub, it can help. Just ask Google, “OK Google, find my phone.” Your smart speaker will then confirm the device you’re asking about and make it ring. The best part? Even if your phone is on silent or vibrate, it’ll still make the noise.

Here’s step-by-step guidance from Asurion Expert Marvin on how to use your Google Home to find your lost phone:

“Alexa, intruder alert!” How Alexa can help in an emergency

Extra security measures in your home to give you peace of mind are never a bad thing. Set up Alexa intruder alerts to let unwelcome guests know that you’re onto them.

How to set up Alexa intruder alerts:

  1. Go to the Alexa app. Click on the menu in the top left, then click on Routines.
  2. Add a Routine by pressing the + button. Now, choose When this happens.
  3. Then, choose Voice, and fill in the blank after Alexa to have your device trigger when you say “intruder alert,” or whatever you’d prefer to say, and then hit Save.
  4. Now, you’ll need to click on Add action. From here, you can choose one or multiple actions you’d like to take to catch the intruder off guard. It can be turning on the lights throughout your home that are Alexa-enabled; it can also be having the Alexa devices in your home say things aloud like, “Get on up out of my house, you cretin – the cops are on their way.” Whatever you desire, really. There are plenty of Alexa intruder alert memes you can turn to for inspiration.

How to turn on (and off) severe weather alerts with Alexa

You can now get severe weather alerts from Alexa. Just say, “Alexa, tell me when there’s a severe weather alert,” and Alexa will keep you informed when there’s a local severe weather warning or event.

You can turn off Alexa’s severe weather alerts at any time by saying, “Alexa, turn off severe weather alerts.”

Can Alexa or Google Assistant call 911?

We can all use a little help from our friends from time to time. Out of the box, there is not a way to have Alexa or Google Assistant call 911 in case of an emergency, but there are workarounds, like enabling Alexa skills such as Ask My Buddy and My SOS Family. These two skills will reach out to your designated family member or friend when you’re in need. Just say, “Hey Google, Ask My buddy for help.”

Change Google Assistant’s voice

If you’re in the mood to shake things up to feel like you’ve got a brand new virtual friend around, Google Assistant has more than 10 voice and accent options for you to choose from. Follow the 4 steps below to listen to the options and pick the one that you like best.

  1. On your smartphone or tablet, open your Google Home app and tap Settings.
  2. Scroll down to Google Assistance Services and tap More settings.
  3. Tap the Assistant tab and then Assistant voice.
  4. Select the different color circles to hear a preview of the available voice. When you find the one you want, leave it selected.

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