Microsoft and Amazon are integrating their digital assistants this week. A new preview is offered to both Cortana and Alexa users in the United States that allow each digital assistant to call each other and access additional apps and services. The integration was released last year and was demonstrated earlier this year at Microsoft's Build Developer Conference, and now Microsoft and Amazon are looking for feedback before it is widely rolled out to all devices.
Integration is quite basic right now and requires users to be called every digital assistant through a rather clunky process. "Alexa, open Cortana" will launch Cortana on an Echo device, and "Hey Cortana, open Alexa" will do the same on Windows 1
Although integration may be clunky, Microsoft and Amazon are working to improve this in the future. "The goal is to have two integrated digital assistants who can perform tasks across different dimensions in daily life," explains Microsoft's Jennifer Langston. Features like streaming music or alarm are not available yet, but Microsoft says additional skills and features will be added over time. "Engineers will use feedback from the public preview to deepen cooperation between Cortana and Alexa," explains Langston.
Amazon also delivers Alexa to a number of Windows 10 computers with a dedicated app that can listen to Alexa wake word. Microsoft has not really pushed forward with Cortana. With the exception of the Cortana-powered thermostat, Microsoft's digital assistant has not begun appearing in several speakers, cars, refrigerators, toasters and thermostats that the company promised. Cortana has now fallen behind both Alexa and Google Assistant, and Microsoft has now released its Outlook for iPhone Manager in charge of Cortana to improve the situation.
If you want to try Alexa on Cortana and vice versa, simply say "Hey Alexa, Alexa" on a Windows 10 computer, or say "Alexa, Open Cortana" on an Echo device.