Hailed the hottest gift this Christmas, 24 million smart speakers are expected to have been sold globally by the end of 2017. These voice-controlled devices are on everyone’s wish list but why? What else can they do aside from answer a general knowledge question or play music? We’ve put together a list of our top ten smart speaker skills.

1. Get advice on where to eat, drink, dance or shop

That’s right, you can ask your new Google Home for recommendations of places to go locally. (Rejoice local businesses!) Whatever you’re looking for, Google will provide location details and even the best routes to get there. Providing the business is listed on Google.

2. Check your emails and appointments

For those who can’t leave their emails or diary alone, your smart speaker can turn into a personal assistant. Ideal if you work in your own office. Or you work at home and want a quick way to find out what you’ve got on next or to remind you of an important date.

3. Set the mood

New integrations with brands including Philips, Sonos, Nest and more, mean you can control everything around you without moving. We’re talking about changing the temperature, turning the lights down, switching the music on or the TV off. And as smart speaker adoption increases we’ll see even more smart appliances and gadgets come to market.

4. A personal assistant and a personal trainer

If your new year’s resolution is to get fit then this may be of interest. Top fitness brands have developed apps and smart speaker skills to help you monitor and improve your fitness. Including set workouts and personalised nutritional guidance. And if you’ve got a smartwatch, connect the device and ask for your latest fitness stats.

5. Shopping on demand

It’s in the adverts, but this really is one of the most useful smart speaker skills. No longer do you need to write a shopping list out and then do the shopping, you can ask your speakers to add products to your grocery list when you think of them, and also order things directly on the Amazon Echo. Retailers Like Ocado and Morrisons are already starting to link their mobile apps with smart speaker applications too. Allowing their customers to add products to shopping cart.

Amazon Echo, Google Home & Apple Homepod Best Smart Speaker Skills

6. Cook up a feast

When you’re stuck in a rut and not sure what to cook, just ask your smart speaker. With recipe apps available from the likes of Jamie Oliver, Quaker Oats and more, the speaker can read out instructions whilst you’re cooking. Saving your phone from messy fingers.

7. And choose the perfect beverage

Once you’ve cooked the perfect meal, you can ask your smart speaker which beverage is most suitable. Using third-party apps from Brewdog or Drinks & Co, you can get recommendations on the best drink for your meal. Some also give you party ready facts to help you be the expert at the dinner table.

8. Choose your magic numbers

The National Lottery has launched an app on the Amazon Echo which lets you check your winnings. Great for sports fans too. You can check the football scores of your favourite team and keep up to date when you can’t watch the game.

9. Have a bit of fun

Play trivia over dinner or keep the kids entertained with interactive games. Smart Speakers can provide hours of fun for you and the family. So, they’re perfect for those lazy days after Christmas and for entertaining guests.

10. Choose your own smart speaker skills

Developers and brands across the globe are developing new apps for both the Google Home and Amazon Echo. So, you can download your local council’s app to tell you when the bins get taken out or get your bus timetable on demand. Google Home also features an IFTTT function (If this, then that) which allows you to create your own voice commands and control third-party devices that aren’t directly integrated. For example, if you say ‘Goodnight’, your smart lights turn off, or if you say ‘I’m running late’ a text message is sent to the person you’re meeting.

And if that wasn’t enough reasons, then you can check out the 32 Best Things Google Assistant Can Do or 15 cool things you can do with the Amazon Echo.

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