Microsoft and Amazon announce public preview of Cortana/Alexa integration in the US

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If you're using an Echo device, say, "Alexa, open Cortana", and if you're on a Windows 10 PC, say, "Hey, Cortana, open Alexa". A year later and that integration has finally happened.

Announced past year and much delayed, the meeting of artificial minds is created to being the best of the business-focused Microsoft Cortana to Amazon's market leader Alexa.

We're working on a more detailed post about our experience with Cortana and Alexa across our Echo devices, Harman Kardon Invoke speaker and Windows PCs. Alternately, Cortana will be able to ask Alexa to set the temperature of the room through an internet-connected thermostat and access numerous third-party skills other companies have built into Alexa.

The companies first announced plans to have their personal assistants work together a year ago, saying the integration would launch by the end of 2017. For example, you might want to use Alexa to order groceries, but you might want to use Cortana to find out something that's on your calendar. "And someone making breakfast in the kitchen could enlist Cortana through an Echo device to preview a daily calendar, add an item to a to-do list or check for new emails before heading to the office". Likewise, Cortana will be available on Amazon Echo devices like Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, and Echo Spot.

Microsoft and Amazon announce public preview of Cortana/Alexa integration in the US
Microsoft and Amazon announce public preview of Cortana/Alexa integration in the US

That said, when the collaboration was first announced, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told the New York Times that he envisioned a future where devices would automatically forward your voice command to the assistant best suited for the task at hand, no extra invocation phrases necessary.

This feedback will hopefully result in the inclusion of some now missing features, like music streaming and alarm clocks, as both parties intend to keep adding more over time.

The idea is to capitalize on each company's strength - Amazon's in consumer technology, and Microsoft's in workplace software. Cortana and Alexa can each be enabled as a skill on the other, Microsoft officials said today.

Again, this is a preview version of the Alexa/Cortana integraion so not everything works, e.g. you cant ask Alexa to play an audiobook through Cortana.

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