Artificial Intelligence

How to use the new Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana integration on your device

An integration between Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana is now in public preview, according to a Wednesday blog post from Microsoft.

The collaboration between two of the most well known digital assistants was first announced in August 2017 and later demoed in early 2018. Relying on two digital assistants, and having them work together, could make it easier for users to stay on top of their work and personal lives, the post noted.

For now, Cortana and Alexa can be enabled as a skill on each other, the post said. Cortana can be summoned on Echo devices, and Alexa can be called on Windows 10 PCs and Harman Kardon Invoke speakers. Users will also get a chance to provide feedback on the integration experience as well, the post noted.

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The best part about the integration is that it is very easy to set up and use.

Echo owners can enable the Cortana skill by saying “Alexa, open Cortana.” Then, they simply need to follow the steps to sign into their Microsoft account to get started. If they don’t have a Microsoft account, they’ll need to create one at that point.

The process for enabling Alexa as a skill on a PC is similar. According to the post, users should say “Hey Cortana, open Alexa” or click the microphone button and say “open Alexa.” They will then need to follow the steps or prompts to sign into their Amazon account. If they don’t have an Amazon account, they’ll need to set one up.

For business users, one of the obvious use cases would be to manage your home and daily life through Alexa, and manage work tasks and information through Cortana. For example, an Echo owner could ask Alexa to summon Cortana to check for emails before they leave for work in the morning, the post noted.

Conversely, a Windows 10 user could summon Alexa through Cortana while working from home to order their weekly groceries, and more.

The integration will eventually be available to more devices over time, a separate Amazon blog post noted.

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Image: Ian Knighton/CNET

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