MICROSOFT HAS shown off its Cortana-Alexa integration for the first time, and in the cold light of day, it's a little bit cringy.
Such was the excitement of the Build demo, it turned into a somewhat cringe-worthy version of a playdate with the kid at school that you spent most of the term trying to avoid eye contact with for risk of getting bullied to death by the rest of the class.
We'll leave you to work out which voice assistant is which child.
"For all of you developers out there building skills, Cortana and Alexa will enable access to more people across more devices. And we can't wait to see what you build," said Megan Saunders, general manager of Microsoft Cortana.
Vimocafe reports that Alexa has been tasked with personal requests, whilst a quick "Alexa, open Cortana" brings the business-heavy Cortana to life.
When originally announced in 2017, the original prediction was that the integration would be ready by Christmas. Last month, we were told that it was still "not ready for prime time" and thus missed the April Update.
We still don't know when the new combined Frankenvoice is going to be available to the world at large. However, Microsoft is now taking developers with an interest in creating something across both systems and has launched a sign-up website to register interest.
Alexa compatibility is proving crucial in the fight to save Cortana from being an also-ran voice assistant (or "Bixby"). Microsoft had originally not planned on creating a voice assistant device, but rather relying on the billions of existing Microsoft devices.
However, the ubiquity of Alexa and never-ending suspicion about Microsoft's data collection policies have led the two companies to form what seems like an unholy alliance and judging by the demo we've just seen, there's also been a designation of "turf" for each, to ensure neither talks out of turn.
In a separate move, Alexa will be coming to select devices with far-field microphones in the next few months, whilst it was confirmed yesterday that Alexa can now become the primary assistant on Google phone handsets - all of which suggests bad news for Google Assistant.
Mind you, as we've said all along, all Google has to do is roll out Google Assistant on Chrome and the game changes dramatically. It's I/O this week. Jus' saying. µ
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