Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana are teaming up. The companies today announced integration between the two services, allowing you to access Cortana’s features from Alexa, and vice versa.
As it stands, voice assistants are walled gardens, with too many options to choose from. I have both Google Assistant and Bixby on my phone, Cortana on my PC, Siri on my iPad, and Alexa on my Echo. I can’t be bothered to try every one, so I mostly just use Google Assistant unless theres a specific feature I can’t access.
Amaz’on and Microsoft’s solution means you’ll be able to do things like buy groceries on Amazon using Cortana or use Microsoft Office integrations from Alexa. You have to say “Amazon, open Cortana” or “Cortana, open Alexa,” which isn’t exactly seamless, but it gets the job done. The feature is expected to go live later this year.
The partnership makes business sense too. Cortana suddenly has a myriad of new integrations, given Alexa skills are already compatible so many smart devices and apps. Amazon, on the other hand, suddenly has Alexa in many more households, as every Windows 10 PC comes with Cortana.
But mostly, it bodes well for a future where voice assistants can actually complement each other, instead just being another option you’ll never use. I can’t keep track of all the features that have been added to every specific assistant, so it’s nice to imagine someday I won’t have to choose.
For that matter, Sonos is also expected to reveal a speaker that combines multiple voice assistants. Now we know at least two of them. Here’s hoping Google and Apple will join the party too.