Google Assistant can now control GE’s smart microwaves

You can also scan a barcode to cook your frozen dinner.

GE's lineup of connected microwaves can now be controlled by the Google Assistant. Owners can use voice commands to set their microwave and perform basic functions like starting, pausing, stopping or adding time. The microwaves also have a "scan-to-cook" feature that automatically sets the microwave after you scan a frozen dinner's barcode. GE's smart microwaves are already compatible with Alexa, so this update lets owners go with the virtual assistant of their choice.

Since it's a software update, current owners of the WiFi-capable microwaves can rope in Google Assistant with either the GE Kitchen Appliances app or Google Home app. Simply download either app and follow the set-up instructions. If you're stuck with a dumb microwave, GE's lineup starts at $144.

Last year, GE started rolling out direct integration of the Google Assistant with a variety of its home appliances, including ovens and dishwashers. GE's connected microwave will be the first that works directly with the Google Assistant -- but other brands like Whirlpool have built their own actions so that their devices can work with Google Assistant. Google needs support from big appliance-makers like GE to compete with Amazon in this space, as Alexa has already made considerable headway in the smart cooking market with connected microwaves, stoves, coffee makers and more.

Many have questioned the need for connecting everyday household appliances like toasters, ovens or cookers to a smartphone or virtual assistant. Depending on your culinary abilities, the kitchen can either be a dreaded or sacred space. While some people may find a new gadget helps with multitasking or saves them time in the kitchen, others may find them to be an unwelcome intrusion or simply unnecessary. We thought the Amazon Basics microwave oven -- which has Alexa built right in -- was an impressive piece of technology, but questioned who really needed it. The simple act of nuking a frozen meal in the microwave may already be the height of convenience (or laziness), and adding a voice assistant in the mix may be overkill.