Microsoft and Amazon announced a partnership last year that would allow Alexa to summon Cortana, Microsoft’s voice-assistant, and let Cortana summon Alexa. At this year’s Microsoft Build conference, Microsoft showed off what that integration will look like in the video embedded above.
When the integration is available to the public, Alexa users will be able to say “Alexa, open Cortana” to talk to Microsoft’s voice assistant. Cortana’s voice will ask how it can help and begin listening. After being given a command and responding, Cortana will ask “what can I do for you” and listen to followup requests until you tell the voice assistant that you are done.
On Cortana devices, such as a Windows PC, users will be able to say “Hey Cortana, open Alexa” and have full access to Amazon’s voice assistant. After issuing Alexa commands and getting a response, Alexa will continue to ask “what’s next” for followup requests until you’re done.
Neither Amazon or Microsoft have said when their voice assistant integration will be available to the public, however, some users currently have beta access. Microsoft has put up a page where people can sign up for more information.
As much as I love these companies working together and the myriad of smart assistants becoming more aligned, I don’t think consumers want to remember which assistant to use for different activities. They just want to use their voice to ask a machine to do things. In the spectrum of “good-better-best”, this is “good” or “better”, but “best” is that one assistant does it all.
Agreed. That said its a good first step. Intelligent delegation of tasks would be the next preferrable layer (and could be helpful for people for whom one wake word is better than others, ie: anyone named Alexa who would prefer to just say “Cortana”).