The Amazon Echo was one of our favourite gadgets of 2016.
For those who don't know, the Echo is a 360-degree omni-directional speaker powered by a virtual assistant called “Alexa”.
The smart home device lets you order dinner, check the weather, turn on the lights, adjust your thermostat, call a cab, play radio stations, podcasts, music and more, using only your voice. Amazon promotes the smart speaker with the tagline, Just Ask.
And the US technology company has mailed out a handful of new tips and tricks to customers to do just that.
Amazon customers with some new voice commands for AI assistant, Alexa, to celebrate the weekend.
AMAZON • GETTY
Amazon has rolled-out a number of new features to its smart assistant Amazon Echo – Things you MUST ask Alexa right now Mon, January 30, 2017
Amazon's Echo speaker has plenty of tricks up its sleeve but we bet you didn't know you could ask Alexa this
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Things to ask Amazon's Alexa
The email highlights the ability for Amazon Echo to check local opening times and recommendations.
"Ready for a night out at the end of a long week?" Amazon tells Echo owners, "Alexa can help make sure it's a good one. Ask Alexa to tell you about local clubs, pubs, bars and restaurants."
Amazon tells customers to try and find local recommendations by asking, "Alexa, what clubs are nearby?"
Or you can narrow-down your restaurant search by asking the smart home device, "Alexa, what are some top-rated Indian restaurants?"
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Amazon has highlighted a number of features with Alexa that are ideal for the weekend
Amazon will surface a slew of information about your local businesses.
Most of this will appear within the Alexa App on your iOS or Android smartphone, where you'll find opening hours, phone numbers, reviews and location.
Amazon also recommends customers try "Alexa, T.G.I.F.!" to see what the speaker's response will be.
As well as radio stations from TuneIn, and music from Prime Music or Spotify, Alexa can also read your Kindle eBooks to you.
To pick-up where you left-off on your Kindle, open the Alexa App and head to Music & Books > Kindle Books to find out what Kindle Books Alexa can read.
Or just ask, "Alexa, read my Kindle Book".
Amazon also highlights a few third-party Skills available for the Echo
Amazon also highlights some of the third-party apps, dubbed Skills, available to download and install on your Amazon Echo.
It writes, "Get whipped through a High Intensity Interval Training workout with the recently updated 7-Minute Workout Skill, which now offers tutorials in the Alexa App and keeps track of your workouts too.
"To get started, enable the skill by saying 'Alexa, enable 7-Minute Workout' then just ask: 'Alexa, start 7-Minute Workout'."
Last year, Amazon Echo owners unearthed a hidden trick that allows the smart speaker to wake you with a rather obnoxious Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May.
Expect to see Alexa appearing in more gadgets this year with companies including Ford joining the voice search revolution.
Amazon Alexa will now appear in Ford cars – CES 2017 Tue, January 3, 2017
Amazon Alexa Ford
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Alexa working in a Ford car as a personal assistant
Alexa's integration into Ford vehicles will allow owners to play and resume audiobooks, order items on Amazon, search for and transfer local destinations to the in-car navigation system, and more. From the summer, drivers with Ford SYNC 3 will be able to ask Alexa to read weather reports, play music, check news, add items to shopping lists and more – all from their car.
The benefits of this collaboration don't just start in the car as, from home, Ford owners will be able to remote start, lock or unlock doors, and get vehicle information using voice commands.
Alexa is also being included in a number of non-Amazon speakers, including a new device from Lenovo.
Along with a standard speaker, Lenovo will launch a special Harman Kardon edition for premium audio quality.