Cortana, open Alexa: Microsoft demos voice assistant integration at Build

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There was a lot of work to do here as such a collaboration between two big companies has a lot of formalities to sought out.

At the Build 2018, Microsoft surprised with the announcement that Amazon Alexa and Microsft Cortana will be able to talk to each other.

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The feature would work by using the keywords "Open Cortana" on the Alexa, which opens a portal onto the Cortana service. The response that came was "Cortana here, how can I help". Cortana chimed in, to advise Saunders on her calendar appointments for the day.

At the time, users were demoed using handoff triggers to utilize both Alexa and Cortana in a weird 3-way conversation example.

Microsoft and Amazon eventually hope the partnership will herald an era where both assistants will work in tandem, with the best equipped to answer a specific query taking the lead.

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The other person, in the demo, said he was in his office. He then asked Alexa to get him a ride to Harvest Vine. The voice changed to Alexa and Taylor ordered an Uber to get to the restaurant. In addition to LOVE SPORT's core listener base in the United Kingdom, the shows will also be available to Alexa and Google Assistant users in Australia, Canada, India and the U.S.

In the first demonstration of this pairing, Alexa seemed able to run through the same interface as Cortana fairly seamlessly, and vice-versa. Here, for example, he used Alexa to book a ride which Cortana can not do.

In the battle of the virtual assistants, Alexa and Google Assistant are clearly the top two contenders. Taylor demonstrated how he could access both Alexa and Cortana on his PC.

The important thing to note here is that this wasn't just a simple integration.

The integration looks like a great first step, though we'd love to see more ways to have the user invoke either assistant, and perhaps even have them proactively "interject" based on the query.

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