Microsoft shows Alexa and Cortana working in smart harmony

Alicia Guzman
May 9, 2018

It is no secret that Amazon and Google are both competing to get your attention with smart-home speakers and their assistants.

In a brief demo, Microsoft Cortana GM Megan Saunders along with Amazon Alexa SVP Tom Taylor showed how Alexa and Cortana would work together. From then on, your apparatus will request that you permit the Alexa program to browse information regarding programs that are in use on the own system, for example information visible on your own monitor or accessible inside the programs.

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Microsoft demonstrated the developing technology on stage tonight.

The reaction, as shown above, obviously received applause from the crowd who clearly understand the Halo reference stated within Alexa's reply. Microsoft had originally not planned on creating a voice assistant device, but rather relying on the billions of existing Microsoft devices. You can not, for example use a voice phrase to activate Alexa nor does it seem to be able to pull up Maps or make calls.

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When Microsoft and Amazon first discussed integrating their virtual assistants, it was described as a two-way street - that is, Cortana could pass requests back to Alexa, and vice versa. For one, if your phone has a squeezable gesture to activate the Google Assistant, like the Pixel 2 phones, it won't work for Alexa. In short, it would seem that Alexa is going to handle "personal" stuff while Cortana's going to handle all the "business".

Excited about what partnering with other digital Assistants can and might bring or do? Alexa spoke to Taylor through the computer then called him an Uber to a restaurant called Harvest Vine. "We share a vision that there will be many intelligent agents working together to provide customers with a more helpful experience". If you think that Alexa's skills are much more useful and convenient when asking your phone to do tasks and answer questions, then you will now be able to make it work for you. For instance, you could ask Alexa to open Cortana via Alexa-enabled devices.

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