Voice Assistants for Alexa and Google Home

To properly use Amazon Echo, Google Home or Siri, some voice commands are essential. Asking the time or the weather forecast to your virtual assistant may be practical, but they are not the only options you can use. Even if the technology is still in its infancy, the artificial intelligence of virtual assistants already allows voice interaction with some services. Read on to find a list of useful applications and services.

Spotify and Deezer

Listen to your favorite playlists and songs.

"Play my favorite playlist on Deezer or Spotify": this is a voice command recognized by both Alexa, Amazon's virtual assistant, and Google Home. As long as you have linked your Deezer or Spotify account to the virtual assistant, titles or playlists are played on demand. This does not avoid some misunderstandings, but it is certainly a time-saving command.


Request air quality information.

Even without an atmospheric sensor at home, it is possible to know the level of air pollution according to the geolocation or in a precise city. This is PlumeLabs, with its AIR service that offers this functionality. At the moment, it is only compatible with Google assistant. So, what is the right command? You can ask Google: "What is the pollution level today" or ask the same question, but specifying the city.

Alarm and Timer

Set a voice alarm or start a timer.

The command is simple and works for both Google and Alexa: "Set an alarm at 7:30" or "Start a timer for 7 minutes". The latter is very practical for when you put the pasta in hot water and have your hands full to control the clock. For these commands, there are no linked applications: the virtual assistant is the one that directly configures the alarm and the timer. This command can also be configured simply from your smartphone. You can also ask it to be the radio or a part of a song to be used as an alarm clock.

Shopping List

Save and update your shopping list.

"Add cat food to my shopping list": practical for when you are doing another activity and suddenly remember what is missing at home. Google Home and Alexa offer this functionality. In Google Home, requests are added to the Shopping List application, equally accessible online as long as you are connected to a Google account. Different items can be managed in the application: delete, add, etc. With Alexa, management is done via AnyList: the application must be linked, but it also manages the to-do list.

Connected Bulbs

Turn on the light and control its intensity.

This is a function that requires the acquisition of the appropriate equipment: bulbs (or spotlights) and connected lights. The command? "Turn on the bedroom light", for example. It can have different variants depending on the equipment installed in the house. To do so, a compatible lighting system must be chosen. Different manufacturers offer these systems, including Philips, Xiaomi, Avanquest, Awox, Wiz and Trust. The light bulbs can be controlled from a dedicated application, but also from a virtual voice assistant.

Photo – 123rf.com

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