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Amazon Cooking Up More Feats For Alexa

The virtual assistant can now control microwave ovens by voice.

Alexa is expanding its reach in the kitchen with a new smart-home skill API (application programming interface) that will allow consumers to control their connected microwave ovens by voice.

The new four-part skill set will allow Amazon’s virtual assistant to set microwave cook times, modes, power levels, and other complex functions by voice command. Such directives could include “Alexa, defrost three pounds of chicken,” or “Alexa, microwave for 50 seconds on high,” Amazon said.

So far the new ability is only available in the U.S., but will soon be extended to other countries and to additional cooking appliances including ranges, the company said.

According to the e-tailer, Whirlpool is already leveraging the new cooking capabilities for a forthcoming line of smart microwaves, while GE, LG, Samsung and Sears Kenmore are planning to integrate Alexa into ovens and other cooking appliances.

Those brands may face some new competition from Amazon itself, however. The company’s Alexa Fund venture capital arm is backing June Life, makers of the June Oven, a smart countertop convection oven that sells direct for $1,495, and presumably speaks Alexa.