17 hidden secrets of the Amazon Echo

Amazon’s voice assistant can do a lot more than just play music and tell you the weather.

Create custom Alexa skills with Blueprints

Have you ever wished you could program Alexa to give certain specific responses? Well, now you can! Amazon has launched a feature called 'Skill Blueprints', which essentially enables you to roll your own custom Alexa skills. There are various templates for creating skills for things like games and quizzes, inspirational quotes and chore rotas.

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Our favourite Blueprint is one for letting guests know all the essential information they'll need. The example is based around information for house-guests, such as how to turn the TV on and where the toilet paper's kept, but it works equally well as an information point for offices.

For instance, you can configure it to respond to questions like "Alexa, what's the Wi-Fi password?" or "Alexa, how does the coffee machine work?". No more having to answer the same questions over and over again! To set up a Blueprint, go to blueprints.amazon.co.ukand sign in with your Amazon account, then pick the Blueprint you want to use as a starting point, then following the step-by-step setup and configuration guide.

Say goodbye, Alexa

If you're upgrading from a Dot to a Plus, or from a regular Alexa to a Show, you might be tempted to pass your old device on to a friend, or sell it online. Before you do, make sure you deregister it so that the new owner can't place online orders using your account. To do this, open the Alexa app, click Settings, then click on the name of the device you're getting rid of. You'll find the deregistration option in the About section.

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You don't have to worry about the record that Alexa keeps of thing you've said to her: this won't follow the device to its new home. But if you ever want to purge this information from your own account, you can delete individual recordings from the home page of the Alexa app, or switch to your Amazon account to delete the whole lot.

To do this, log in at amazon.co.uk, click Your Account, and find the link to Manage Your Content and Devices. Switch to the Your Devices tab, click the three dots beside the names of each of your Echo speakers, and choose Manage voice recordings on each one. Read the disclaimer and, if you want to proceed, click Delete to wipe the slate clean.

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