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The technology juggernaut announced expanded abilities for its Alexa voice assistant to control kitchen appliances.

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.

On Thursday, the company announced "cooking capabilities" are now part of its Smart Home Skill API.

Amazon says that, to begin with, Alexa will be able to set microwave cook times, modes and power levels, but there's no word as to whether the AI assistant is yet smart enough to figure out how to set the ruddy clock. Instead of pressing multiple buttons to enable advanced microwave features, your customers can now use their voices. The new cooking capability from Amazon also allows appliance makers to make their presets libraries available through Alexa.

Amazon confirmed the feature had gone live in the USA, with other countries to follow shortly. Whirlpool has already created its own Alexa skill for microwaves, and plans to launch it "soon".

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"Customers have now connected tens of millions of smart home devices to Alexa, including cameras, door locks, lights, entertainment systems, and thermostats". You might, for example, tell Alexa to set the microwave for 3 minutes or ask Alexa to preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Manufacturing partners that have signed on to the program include GE Appliances, Kenmore, LG, Samsung, and Whirlpool.

This move comes as Amazon believes that customers are increasingly using voice user interfaces (VUIs) as a hands-free way to manage their lives and hands-free control could especially be valuable when cooking. 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.

Microwaves are about to get a whole lot smarter, and even more convenient, thanks to Amazon Alexa.


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