Using an Amazon Echo in India

Since the video I put on Amazon Alexa working in India, I’ve been asked a lot of questions on how to set it up and make echo give its optimal performance. Let me share my insights on the said matter.

Amazon Echo is a voice activated home device which can stream music, give you information from the internet, read your emails, fetch the news and even control your home appliances. The voice interface is called Alexa and that’s the wake word of the device as well. Now the problem is, Amazon Echo is not available for sale in India, hence most of its services wouldn’t work here as expected- out of the box. But with a little research and tweaking I was able to get my Echo to suit my requirements.

Setting up your Echo:

Setting up Echo is easy when you are in the US. The same is not possible if you are trying to do that from a country that doesnt offer Amazon support. You need the Alexa App on your mobile device to set the Echo online. You will not find the Alexa App in indian stores, so you need to manually download the app from google and install it on your device. Sadly this technique will not work on your original iOS devices (Unless its jailbroken).

I did install the APK on my android phone. When you open the app, it will give you step by step instruction to connect to your echo and make it live. This will take hardly a minute.

At this point you can try the default commands, using the wake word “Alexa”. You will find a list of working commands in the app itself. I will list out some of them.

“Alexa, Whats the time in India”

“Alexa, Wiki Transformers”

“Alexa, How do you spell Dinosaur”

“Alexa, Play a sample by Lois Armstrong”

“Alexa, Add Milk to my shopping list”

“Alexa, Add Watch Tonight show to my to-do list”

“Alexa, Set an alarm for 5PM tonight” (This is tricky, as Echo can only be set up on US Time)

There are a lot more.

Optimizing your feeds:

Skills.

You can personalize Amazon Echo to your needs. Teach Alexa new skills! How to do that? By enabling new skills available at the alexa app store. Go right to the app, you will find Skills. Browse for original and third party skills and enable it. Your Echo will be capable to do that task.

These are some of the skills, I’ve taught Alexa.

News : India News, CNBC (Alexa, Whats my flash briefing).

This will make Alexa read your news feeds. You can add and reorder as many channels as you like.

Relax: Ambient Noise (Alexa, Open Ocean Sounds).

This will play relaxing sounds on loop in your Echo. Perfect for a good night sleep.

Email: Notion (Alexa, Ask Notion Whats new).

You need to install Notion mail on your phone and Alexa can tell you what is waiting for you.

Fun: Ditty (Alexa, Open Ditty).

This is so much fun. You can speak to Alexa and she will make that a song!

There are tons of new skills being uploaded each week to the store. So keep an eye there!

Music, Radio and Podcasts.

The only good service which will work with Echo right now in India is TuneIn and it aint so bad. You will find tons of music, radio and podcasts to stream from TuneIn.

You can upload your music to Amazon Music Library and ask Alexa to play those for you.

Here are some commands for you to try with Echo.

“Alexa, Play my playlist World Music”

“Alexa, Play the podcast FilmSpotting”

“Alexa, Play Comedy 103.1”

Audio Books.

Now this is also something that doesnt have full support in India. You can download the Audible APK from google, set up and account and add Audiobooks to your library. Echo will access and read those books to you.

“Alexa, Read a book from Audible”

“Alexa, Read The time machine from Audible”

So thats it. You are all set to go ahead and buy an Echo! Enjoy and Dont forget to teach her!

Check out this URL to watch the Demo Video I made on Echo : http://bit.ly/2kslfKJ