While you are asking Siri to wake you up at 8 am and asking Google where to buy glasses, Microsoft and Amazon are learning their assistants to cooperate. Let’s get to know these characters closer. Believe us, the acquaintance won’t disappoint you.
The name of the Microsoft assistant is Cortana. And it is installed on every Windows user’s computer, laptop, Xbox consoles, Windows Phone. A cross-platform Cortana can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices. But the most interesting is that differs this application from other software assistants and it is its virtual prototype.
Cortana is a character from a serial game called Halo. It is an artificial intelligence of a ship and captain’s tactical adviser. Fans just liked so much the voice of Jen Taylor scoring for Cortana, that it was kept for Windows assistant, but for American version only. Today Cortana speaks English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese and developers promise to increase the number of languages spoken.
The Microsoft assistant not only has its own story, appearance and personality. It also has an original sense of humor and kind of insight. She warns in advance about traffic jams or flight cancellation. You can ask her direct or indirect questions like “What is the weather today?” or “Will I need an umbrella today?”
Amazon assistant is officially called Amazon Echo. But you can call it Alexa. While all other assistants are built in a phone, computer, tablet and other devices, Alexa is an independent device. It is a dynamic could be installed in any place so you can hear each other. Recently Amazon announced a new version with a display which can be set to display relevant information or to play YouTube video updates.
Alexa abilities make her perfect housekeeper in terms of managing a smart house. All the statistic and relevant information are gathered on a small display. Moreover it is irreplaceable for iOS users. Google Home was released on the market and Apple has no analogues at the time.
Girls play in one team
Microsoft and Amazon decided to implement a revolutionary idea. They decided to learn their assistants to cooperate. You can ask Cortana to switch Alexa on, or call for Cortana through Alexa. It looks like a beginning of the future we watched in a movie, doesn’t it? Several clever assistants make people’s life easier and communicate with each other on their own free time.
So, the assistants are ready for instant cooperation. Does it mean Microsoft and Amazon will stay friends forever? It does not look like that. For instance, Alexa has a function helping you out with your Amazon purchases, but Cortana cannot do it. And Microsoft doesn’t want to give Amazon access to its databases.
So it looks like Alexa and Cortana will stay autonomous assistants and every time you shall remember which is helping you where. So there is a logical question: is it really comfortably? The managers of two companies have promised to make Cortana and Alexa decide to which of them the request is addressed. So that sounds a bit better.
Microsoft + Amazon = ?
New York Times reports (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/technology/amazon-alexa-microsoft-cortana.html) Jeff Bezos is interested in cooperation with all existing assistants.
The attention of Amazon СЕО to this market is understandable as well as the interest of Microsoft to it. Both of the companies have missed the boom of smartphones. But there is an absolutely unexplored and untouched market of portable voice assistants which is not developed by Apple or Google. By combining the power and discovering big opportunities of sharing the assistants companies are creating a new unique product which may be of interest for potential buyers.
But in the same time they can split anytime and proceed on their own. And users will have to answer the questions on their own, whom should they entrust the control over fridge storage, Cortana or Alexa, who will be responsible for a toaster or whether they want to see Siri or not.
In the near future we are going to see, if the idea of these two giants is good enough. Microsoft and Amazon promised to launch a function of combined assistants in the end of this year.