Last year, Microsoft kindled hopes of a universe of virtual assistant where each smart system talks to another irrespective of which company owns them. Today, at the Build 2018 Conference, Satya Nadella echoed this by announcing that a future version of Cortana might soon be able to communicate with other smart assistants.
Microsoft showed off development, demoing how the two voice assistants will work together on PCs and smart devices.
Cortana GM Megan Saunders was joined by Amazon Alexa SVP Tom Taylor for the somewhat of an enchanting act. She spoke to an Echo speaker, asking it to “open Cortana“, and the aide responded instead of Alexa with “Cortana here, how can I help?”
Saunders also showed off how the relationship between two assistants is strong enough to handle follow up commands. She simply inquired about her day and Cortana, without the Echo turning the mic to Alexa, replied with her Calendar entries. She also used Microsoft’s assistant to send an email via Outlook to Taylor with a meeting prompt.
Representing team Amazon, Taylor spoke to Alexa by triggering Cortana on his PC. By saying, “Hey Cortana, Open Alexa“, Alexa responded this time with her typical welcome message, “hi there, this is Alexa. How can I help?“. The executive used third-party skills to book an Uber and asked Alexa to turn the lights off.
The highlight of the show was when Alexa was asked what she thought of Microsoft’s assistant and she replied with a candid response, “I like Cortana. We both have experience with rings, although hers is more of a Halo.”
Neither of the companies, however, talked about a possible launch date of the integration but opened up a new website for developers who’re keen on staying updated about the sisterhood between the two assistants. Moreover, the integration is more like a skill and not the two assistants actually communicating or sharing resources, but at the moment, we cannot say with any certainty how deeply they will be integrated in the future.