Amazon Alexa's new skill, Geneva, lets you voice control your GE appliances

You can use voice control to preheat your oven, check the progress of your laundry and keep an eye on other GE large appliances.

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What do you do if you're wrist-deep in hamburger meat, but you need to preheat the oven? If you have a connected GE oven and an Amazon Echo smart speaker, all you have to do is ask Alexa for help.

You can now use Alexa, Amazon's virtual assistant, to voice control Wi-Fi-enabled GE appliances, the manufacturer announced on Tuesday. This is possible because of a new Alexa "Skill" (sort of like an app for Alexa that connects the platform's voice capabilities to smart devices and apps) called Geneva, created by Amazon and GE.

You can use the Amazon Echo, an Alexa-powered smart speaker, in your kitchen to tell your appliances what to do.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Here's how it works: If you have an Alexa-enabled Amazon device such as an Echo smart speaker, you'll be able to tell Alexa to tell Geneva to complete a specific task. For example, "Alexa, tell Geneva to preheat the oven to 350 degrees" or "Alexa, ask Geneva when the dishwasher will be finished."

Geneva is now available in the Alexa Skills Store, and you can enable the Skill if you already have the connected GE appliances. Those Wi-Fi connected appliances include refrigerators, ovens, ranges, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers and hot water heaters in GE's Monogram, Café and Profile product lines. We've previously reviewed some of these connected appliances, such as the GE CFE28USHSS Cafe Series refrigerator with a built-in Keurig coffeemaker and the GE GTW860SPJMC washing machine.

Until recently, we've seen limited uses for Wi-Fi in large appliances. But GE has made a smart choice to connect with Alexa, a burgeoning platform that has proven to be an innovative and useful tool in the smart home. Geneva connects an entire suite of smart large appliances under the central command of Alexa, which is could mean even more smart-home functionality in the future.

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