Skype and Cortana are two Microsoft services that should really be fully integrated with each other. Sadly, they are not, despite Microsoft promising a merger for nearly two years. However, the company is now taking steps towards bringing its voice assistant to Skype.
Announced in preview, Cortana is now working in the new Skype client, sort of. It seems to us that a digital assistant within a chat service should be a perfect integration. So, it is baffling why Microsoft has taken so long to even get this started.
You may remember, the company original promised Skype and Cortana integration back at Build 2016. The company has clearly put such support on the back burner.
At least now we are seeing some movement, albeit in a limited capacity. Those hoping to see Cortana take over Skype will be disappointed, but it's a start.
Users running the Skype Preview client on Windows, iOS, and Android will now see a pop-up in the conversation view. This pop-up is from Cortana and lets users grant her permission to access location and other details.
With this access, the assistant can suggest automatic responses to chats. Additionally, she will offer weather details, news, and internet information when requested. This is achieved by tapping the Cortana icon in the chat box.
This certainly isn't Cortana at her most powerful, and there is no direct integration with the main Cortana app. However, at the very least the assistant can now help automate the Skype experience and streamline conversations.
As mentioned, the feature is available on iOS, Android, and Windows, currently in preview.
Cortana with Alexa
Last week, Microsoft and Amazon announced a new collaboration that will see Cortana and Alexa integrated together. Both services can access the other for responses. The partnership is part of Microsoft and Amazon's belief that collaboration will push AI capabilities further.