Following its announcement at Microsoft’s Build 2018 conference in May, Microsoft has started rolling out the public preview of Cortana-Alexa integration. This allows users to access Alexa via Cortana on a Windows 10 system. This public preview was announced by Microsoft on Wednesday and Android and iOS will follow suit in the coming months.
The reverse of this will also hold good – users will be able to access Cortana on Alexa-powered smart speakers like the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Show.
The integration allows the user to perform commands like “Alexa, open Cortana".
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella mentioned that Cortana’s availability for customers everywhere across devices is a key priority.
With the public preview, Microsoft wants users to engage and provide feedback which will in turn provide better user experience.
Why go for two personal assistants?
We have become used to talking to a voice-based digital assistant only recently, so living with two digital assistants can be unnerving for some people. Also, many people are also questioning the efficiency of integrating two individual personal assistants instead of developing one with all the functionalities.
The rationalisation for this is Cortana and Alexa are two AIs with different specialisations. While Alexa is more proficient in doing things like ordering food, checking flights and playing a song on Spotify, Cortana integrates the Bing search engines and provides answers to more complex queries like “Who won the British Grand Prix in 2018". Cortana also integrates its Office suite of apps for doing productivity related tasks like looking into your schedule.
How to enable this on your Alexa powered device?
To enable Cortana as a skill on Echo devices, say “Alexa, open Cortana" and follow the steps to sign in to or set up your Microsoft account.
To enable Alexa as a skill on a PC, say “Hey Cortana, open Alexa" or click the microphone button and say “open Alexa" and follow the steps to sign in to or set up your Amazon account.