The days of being embarrassed of barking orders at every electronic object in your immediate vicinity seem to be long past, if the fact that the Instant Pot Wi-Fi Smart Pressure Cooker has picked up support for Google Assistant is any indication. The Instant Pot was already one of the most versatile and user-friendly pressure cookers out there, and now it’s even more user-friendly. The big reveal came at CES 2019, where Instant Pot took to the showroom floor to announce that owners of the Wi-Fi ready model, which can already be controlled with a mobile app, can now use Google Assistant to operate the appliance without having to wash the raw potroast or sticky rice from their hands first.
Background: Instant Pot’s capabilities are vast already, and everything that it can do, including telling you the status of the pot and some limited information about the meal inside it, can be controlled through a companion mobile app, as well as a control panel on the front of the device. With this new integration, all of those capabilities can be accessed through Google Assistant on any enabled device that’s on the same Wi-Fi network. Whether you’ve got a Google Home with its ears open in the next room, a Home Hub or Home Mini in the kitchen for some music while you cook, or you’ve trained your phone to recognize the Hey Google and OK Google hotwords, you now have hands-free control of the Instant Pot. Commands take a pass-through form, where you first specify to Assistant that the command is meant for the Instant Pot, then say what that command is, similar to Skills in Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem. For example, you could say, “Hey Google, have Instant Pot cook rice”, and the program would automatically adjust to the preset for rice, then run the routine. All you would have to do is put the uncooked food into the Instant Pot, then say the word.
Impact: Add cooking to the long list of tasks being made easier by voice assistants and the AI that powers them. Home automation seems to be a big area of conquest for Google Assistant and its ilk this year, so smart home enthusiasts will have a lot to look forward to. While this particular piece of news only focuses on automating a single, small part of the cooking process, it’s still a bit quicker and easier than doing things any other possible way. On top of that, it’s a step in the direction of those cartoonish depictions of a voice-driven future where you can simply pick your groceries and pay online, then have them stocked and cooked for you on command. Between delivery services like Google Fresh and developments like the smart fridge, we’re already most of the way there. The same can be said of a number of other household tasks and everyday chores, including cleaning the floor. The fully automated systems seen in The Jetsons and the subservient human androids seen in Detroit: Becoming Human are both extremely far off, but as home automation tech takes shape, it looks like we’re more likely to get the former option first, if the latter ever actually comes.