Sunday, 21 October, 2018

You: 'Alexa, open Cortana.' Alexa: 'Who?'

Microsoft and Amazon launch preview for cross-device collaboration between Alexa and Cortana Credit Nicole Gray
Adrian Cunningham | 15 August, 2018, 21:25

Both tech giants are calling this a public preview, but if you own an Amazon Echo, you can say "Alexa, open Cortana" and you'll be able to use the latter's calendar scheduling or email related features. After you first say the clunky phrase "Alexa, open Cortana" or "Cortana, open Alexa".

Nearly a year ago, Microsoft and Amazon announced a deal via which the two would enable their respective virtual assistants to work together.

"This is just the start for Alexa and Cortana, which means features like music, audio books, and flash briefing will not be available immediately". 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. Today, an integration between the rival assistants that's been in the works for about a year gets under way via the release of a US -only public preview. One feels the mere "Hey Cortana" or "Alexa" should be enough to speak to the right agent.

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The Verge reports that Microsoft and Amazon have released a wider public preview of its previously teased deeper integration between the Alexa and Cortana digital assistants - available for everyone in the U.S. right now.

Microsoft showed how the integration would work at its Build conference earlier this year, and what's rolling out today seems little changed from that demo.

"The goal is to have two integrated digital assistants who can carry out tasks across different dimensions of daily life", Microsoft's Jennifer Langston told The Verge. Both the companies are announcing the integration's availability in public preview, letting users use both the personal assistants on their device. (Not that Amazon's waited on Microsoft to expand to Windows 10 laptops, television sets, and other devices.) It's easier for the virtual assistants to reach as many people as possible by partnering up than by competing. But Cortana is more reserved and profesh, since she works with Microsoft products like Outlook. "Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience", said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.