This Alexa update will make you so happy in the kitchen

It's about time. Amazon Echo has just added an update that cooks have been longing for. But it will benefit anyone who has to juggle multiple tasks.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

Alexa can now juggle multiple named timers for you.


The Amazon Echo got an update Thursday that will warm the heart of still-novice home cooks like me: you can now name and set multiple timers.

Doesn't seem like a big deal? When Alexa starts insistently beeping, you'll now know if it's for the roast chicken in the oven, the pasta water for the kids' mac and cheese, or the grill you lit out back and then forgot about. I suspect more accomplished cooks just keep those tallies in their head, but I need technological help and am not afraid to say it.

It's simple to operate, as I can attest. 

Just say, "Alexa, set a grill timer for 5 minutes," or "set an oven timer for 20 minutes." Or get specific: "Set a macaroni timer for 8 minutes." When that time expires, the Echo will clarify which timer is going off, saying, "Your grill (or whatever) timer is done."

Obviously, the update doesn't have to be for cooking tasks -- that's just where I find it most useful. Anything you want to remember you can now label. 

Also new: You can now tell Alexa to set a reminder for you -- I just told her to remind me at noon the roof inspector is coming. You can also ask for reminders to be set beyond the current day -- "Alexa, remind me on Monday at 1 p.m. to pick up the kids early," or whatever.

You can see and create reminders and timers using the Alexa mobile app, too.

The update is available now in the US and will come to other countries in the coming weeks.