Alexa turns personal chef with oven control

Jose Luis Pelaez  Getty Images

Jose Luis Pelaez Getty Images

While over 50% of Echos end up in the kitchen, a lack of cooking-specific commands and categories within the popular voice assistant's smart home API meant few people actually prepare food with Alexa today. Starting today, third-party manufacturers who make these ovens, will be able to link their devices in the USA, with support for other countries following. Google's own Google Assistant will also be in the spotlight - "where there's Alexa, there's likely to be Google Assistant in the mix", writes The Verge in its CES 2018 preview. June Oven had previously raised $9.5 million in funding, according to reports. Appliances that have pre-sets are needed - like microwave ovens, conventional ovens, and presumably other cooking devices like slow cookers and perhaps bread makers.

"Customers can ask Alexa to set microwave cook times, modes, power levels, and more instead of using the traditional and often confusing microwave experience", Mass wrote.

Companies featured in the talks have reportedly included Procter and Gamble, and Clorox, who could soon "pay for higher placement if a user searches for a product such as shampoo on the device, similar to how paid searches work in Google".

Amazon and Google are expected to remain the leaders with their Echo and Home devices, but will feel some heat from new entrants to the market.

Amazon is bringing Alexa to smartwatches and headphones
Amazon is making it easier to bring Alexa to devices like headphones and smartwatches

Amazon has also announced that the Alexa Fund, its venture capital arm, is investing in June Life, the company behind the connected June Oven.

Being the first brand in Alexa's search results would also be especially valuable, because shoppers are more likely to select the first option available when they can't physically scroll down to see other brands. Using the appropriate Alexa Skill, and saying "Alexa, defrost this 2-pound sirloin steak", will start a microwave and punch in the correct settings - with just your voice.

That's June Oven, the touchscreen-fronted smart appliance that was announced back in 2015.

This year, smart speaker shipments in the U.S. are expected to reach 38.4 million units. We don't want Microwaves or ovens blowing up or catching on fire.

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