The Alexa-Cortana crossover is now available to the public

Lawrence Kim
August 15, 2018

Alexa, which does everything from play music to buy items from Amazon on Echo speakers and other Alexa-enabled devices, will be able to summon Cortana to read emails or check calendar appointments from Microsoft Outlook. On a compatible Windows 10 PC or a Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker, you can say "Hey Cortana, open Alexa", and you'll be able to shop on Amazon or control some smart appliances.

But today, finally, almost a year after it was first announced, Amazon and Microsoft are claiming that their rollout of the digital assistant collaboration has begun.

"Once you open Cortana, all voice data goes to Microsoft and not Amazon, and once you open Alexa, all voice data goes to Amazon and not Microsoft", said Amazon spokeswoman Dawn Brun in a statement past year.

The major benefit of this, despite its admittedly clunky implementation at the moment, is for either assistant to have access to the other's unique features while on a platform that doesn't natively support them. Both the companies are announcing the integration's availability in public preview, letting users use both the personal assistants on their device. Microsoft says the companies will launch "additional skills and features" in the future.

Microsoft and Amazon originally planned to make Cortana and Alexa integration available before the end of calendar 2017, but decided they needed more time to improve the cross-assistant experience. Both iterations of this integration are handled as a skill on each platform, with Cortana being an Alexa on Echo devices and Alexa being a Cortana skill on Windows 10 devices.

Today, Amazon and Microsoft are officially unveiling the Alexa/Cortana integration.

What's most intriguing - and refreshing - about this move by Amazon and Microsoft is that it's so unexpected. Likewise, Cortana will be available on Amazon Echo devices like Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, and Echo Spot.

The feature would work by using the keywords "Open Cortana" on the Alexa, which opens a portal onto the Cortana service. Thanks to the peacemaking powers of the A.I. overlords, Alexa is now on intimate speaking terms with former rival Cortana!

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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