Amazon Alexa now controls your microwave

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

Did you get a new Amazon "smart speaker" over the holidays?

Initially, there are four new capability interfaces in the Smart Home Skill API - Alexa.Cooking, Alexa.Cooking.TimeController, Alexa.TimeHoldController, and Alexa.CookingPresetController.

If you own a smart microwave or oven, you might soon be able to control it with Alexa. Amazon's Alexa-powered devices Echo, Echo Dot and the Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote were the retailer's No. 1 and No. 2 top-selling over the holidays products, respectively, Amazon said.

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.

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

"Instead of pressing multiple buttons to enable advanced microwave features, your customers can now use their voices".

"Customers have now connected tens of millions of smart home devices to Alexa, including cameras, door locks, lights, entertainment systems, and thermostats". Specifically Alexa will gain dominion over microwave ovens along with conventional ovens. For example, a customer can say "Alexa, defrost three pounds of chicken" or "Alexa, microwave for 50 seconds on high".

Whirlpool is the first company to create an Alexa skill for its connected microwaves, and Amazon said it'll be launching "soon" in the USA, so we wouldn't be surprised if the first AI-controlled microwaves made an appearance at CES next week. A number of other big-name manufactures, including GE Appliances, Kenmore, LG, and Samsung are also planning to add Alexa to their ovens and other appliances.

The new feature, called Flash Briefing, is easily set up after downloading the Amazon Alexa app on an iOS or Android device.