Amazon's Alexa can now be used to control your microwave

A new software update will enable the virtual assistant to control microwaves and ovens.

Amazon is expanding the skill set of virtual assistant Alexa beyond being able to control lights and speakers – it’ll soon be able to control your microwave.

The tech giant has announced it is adding cooking capabilities to its Smart Home Skill API – the programming tools that make it possible to connect Alexa with internet-connected devices.

This means that appliance manufacturers will now be able to create Alexa Skills that enable users to control their cooking appliances using the voice-activated assistant.

Amazon confirmed the feature had gone live in the US, with other countries to follow shortly.

“Customers are increasingly using voice user interfaces (VUIs) as a hands-free way to manage their lives, and hands-free control is especially valuable when cooking,” Amazon’s Mike Maas wrote in a blog post.

“With the built-in cooking device controls in the Smart Home Skill API, you will make it easier for your customers to control your cloud-connected microwave.

(Nick Ansell/PA)
(Nick Ansell/PA)

“Instead of pressing multiple buttons to enable advanced microwave features, your customers can now use their voices. For example, a customer can say ‘Alexa, defrost three pounds of chicken’ or ‘Alexa, microwave for 50 seconds on high’.”

Amazon said Whirlpool had already created a Skill for its connected microwaves that would launch soon, while Kenmore, LG and Samsung were also named among the companies working on cooking-centric Skills for Alexa.

Amazon’s smart home business has become the biggest in the market over the last two years thanks to its range of Echo smart speakers – all of which are powered by Alexa.

As a result, increasing numbers of third-party companies have moved to add Alexa compatibility to their products so that Echo speakers and Alexa-compatible smartphones can be used to control appliances around the home.

Now Amazon is making strides to expand that trend beyond lights, door locks and televisions, and into the kitchen.

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