Lately it seems Alexa is spending lots of time in the kitchen.
A few weeks ago, Amazon and the Food Network announced a new Alexa Skill that enables users to access information about the cable net’s schedule or ask about recipes mentioned on a show.
The company outlined some examples of what you can do with Alexa to interact with the Food Network:
“Alexa, what’s on Food Network right now?”
“Alexa, what’s on Food Network Friday night?”
“Alexa, what’s the next episode of Chopped about?”
“Alexa, when is Giada in Italy on TV?”
“Alexa, send me the recipes from the show I’m watching right now.”
“Alexa, send me the recipe I saw on The Pioneer Woman yesterday.”
In a way, the ability for Alexa to access information about what is on the Food Network in real-time shows that the product is utilizing not only its standard set of AI and natural language recognition, but also has some automatic content recognition (ACR) hooks. ACR is a newer technology the TV industry is embracing as a way to create second screen experiences like iPad apps. Now they can add Alexa Skills to the list.
The release of the Alexa Skill could represent a significant expansion opportunity for the Food Network into a new form of content delivery. New technology entering the kitchen in the form of iPad apps and connected cooking hardware almost make the idea of broadcasting linear cooking shows on a cable television network almost seem antiquated. But now, they start to create customized – and even branded – content delivery experiences. Imagine it’s Sunday night and Alexa suggests the user have a Kraft macaroni and cheese night.
Think it’s silly? Well, it’s coming.
For Amazon, this marks a continued push into all corners of the home – they have tripled the amount of Alexa skills from one thousand to three thousand in the last three months – and they seem to have a growing interest in the kitchen. Amazon’s announcement about the Food Network Skill included other food-related skills including a Patron vodka skill where thirsty consumers can ask Alexa for a margarita recipe and a Skill by Nutritionix that enables users to access nutrition information for a variety of foods. Amazon also announced a new Skill from GE’s appliance division, who decided to call their own Alexa skill Geneva (“Alexa, tell Geneva to preheat the oven to 350°”).
Of course, this is only the beginning. As CNET pointed out in April, Alexa’s Skills seem mostly limited to food discovery and shopping list management, but the true power of a good voice assistant will be to act as a virtual “sous chef” by helping out and executing cooking commands beyond just “oven on”.