Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant, has quickly become the world’s most popular AI assistant. This is one of the most skilled virtual assistants on the market, but most people simply use it to play tunes or get weather information.

Well, Amazon Alexa can do a whole lot more than you give it credit for. In this article, I’ll give you an overview of five of the best and most popular features of Amazon Alexa.

1. Play Music in Multiple Locations with Multi-Room Groups

We all know that Amazon Alexa is pretty brilliant when it comes to playing music. You simply have to give it a name or title and Echo will start playing the music — no hands or navigation necessary. Amazon Alexa also lets you play music in multiple locations. You can set up multiple Amazon Echos around the house to stream either the same music or different music in different parts of the house.

I absolutely love using this feature with my family during evenings together. We’ve stationed several Amazon Echos in different rooms around the house. We use the Multi-Room Music feature to create different groups so the same music can play in different parts of the house. So, no matter where you go, the music will follow.

While you can stream the same music from all the devices, you can also set up different groups so different songs can play through different groups of Echo devices. However, this feature is of most use for larger households in which different people listen to different music so we don’t have much use for it in our home.

2. Control your Smart Home

Amazon Alexa is an expert at turning your entire home into a smart home. If you’ve installed smart home devices like Ecobee, Nest, smart thermostats, smart lights, and so on, you can control them with your Alexa.

This feature has turned my life around. At night, instead of going all over the house to make sure my doors are locked and all lights are turned off, I can simply ask Alexa to do it for me. I don’t even have to leave my comfortable bed — I can simply say “Alexa, turn the lights off” or “Alexa, set the temperature to 70.” My home has never been smarter or more comfortable than it is with Alexa.

3. Use Alexa as an Intercom with Alexa Drop In

Alexa Drop In is one of the coolest and most innovative features of the voice assistant. This feature turns all of your Alexa-enabled devices into intercoms. As such, you can communicate a message from your Amazon Echo and have it conveyed to all other Amazon Alexa devices in the same network.

This feature is especially useful in my household because it means I don’t have to go scrambling around the house every time I need to say something to my children. I can simply use Alexa to convey my message. We love using this feature to play pranks on each other — conveying spooky messages to make it seem like the Echo had grown sentient!

Setting up Drop In is easy. You simply have to enable all your Alexa devices to allow Drop In. Following that, you can say “Alexa, announce…” from one device and have the message transmitted to all other Echo devices.

4. Receive Regular News Updates with Flash Briefing

Keeping up with the news can be difficult, especially when you lead a busy life. However, with Alexa, you don’t have to worry — Alexa can read the news to you whenever you want.

Flash Briefing is a feature though which Alexa delivers quick news and other content to you at an established time. You can select which news programmes and services you want to hear from and Alexa will give you short updates within five minutes.

I no longer have to carve time out of my busy schedule to read the newspaper or the news feed on my phone. I can simply go about my day as I prepare for work and Alexa will continue reading out selected news updates to me. By the time I leave the house, I’ve been briefed on all the relevant information from around the world!

5. Set Timers and Alarms

With Alexa, you can set up timers without ever using your hands. You just have to say, “Alexa, set a timer for 15 minutes” and Alexa will do just that.

I find this feature useful while cooking because it means I don’t have to constantly handle the timer. I can simply go about my business and ask Alexa to set timers whenever necessary. When the time is up, Alexa sets off a radar-like sound that goes on until I say “stop”.

While this feature is ideal for cooking, you can also use this feature while working out. For example, if you’re doing planks, you can ask Alexa to set a timer for one or two minute (or longer if you’re feeling strong). You can even use this feature to set up alarms for different members of your household.


As you can see, Amazon Alexa is an extremely multi-functional smart device that has a lot to offer besides playing music. It can simplify your life greatly, so much so that – once you’ve started using it – you won’t be able to picture your life without it.

While this article has summarised the top five features of Alexa according to me, you can also explore a lot more features. In fact, I highly encourage you to explore Alexa on your own. Alexa even has a feature to help you with that!

Say “Alexa, open Skill Finder” and you’ll find out about a bunch of other things that Alexa can do. You may just discover a feature that transforms your life!