Why It Matters That Alexa and Cortana Are Going To Work Together

by Leon Thompson August 31, 2017, 1:15
Why It Matters That Alexa and Cortana Are Going To Work Together

Americans have enjoyed the benefit of Amazon's Alexa for years and Google Home since November, yet Canadians are left waiting for official support for these smart home assistants. Don't forget about Samsung's new Bixby, the voice-assistant is sure to catch up over the next few weeks, but the rollout here in the States was much later than the previous voice-assistants mentioned above.

"The world is big and so multifaceted".

"Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience", Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said in a statement on Wednesday.

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That's probably not the most seamless method Jeff Bezos and Satya Nadella's tech giants could have come up with to pair their so far rival services, but it may only be the beginning of a lovely (and unexpected) friendship.

Amazon Echo users will soon be able to access Cortana's set of features by simply asking Alexa. By comparison, users of Amazon's and Microsoft's digital assistants are a drop in the bucket.

Alexa has some 20,000 "skills" created by third-party software developers. Microsoft has built its digital assistant to access Office products, and now Alexa will get that functionality by tapping into Cortana. It's likely that Alexa users will now also be able to use this Outlook reminder feature as well.

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Amazon Echo device users will be able to ask Alexa to bring in Cortana as a "guest" to tend to tasks such as booking meetings or reading work email. While Microsoft and Amazon claim they would also like to see this kind of communication crossover work with those other assistants, it's unlikely that will happen anytime in the near future.

Even so, it still seems odd that these two will partner up.

But Microsoft and Amazon will do all it can to fend off competition from the likes of Google and Apple.

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The AI race is now becoming more competitive with Apple already expected to release its own Siri-powered speaker, the HomePod, later this December. Beyond those two, the now supported services are Amazon Music, TuneIn Radio, Pandora, and iHeart Radio. With this partnership you'll be able to take advantage of Alexa's easy online shopping from your PC or Cortana's stronger calendar integration on your sofa.

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