Microsoft and Amazon have worked to enable their virtual assistants to work together for over a year. Towards this goal, the two companies first paired Cortana and Alexa to talk to each other.
Later, they allowed controlling Xbox One console using Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa. Now, on Thursday, September 20, Microsoft announced that soon users will be able to make and receive Skype call from an Alexa device, and vice versa.
Amazon already has built a native voice and video calling service into its digital assistant Alexa, but now users can use Microsoft’s service as well.
“Alexa users will soon be able to take advantage of the high-quality Skype network across the globe to easily connect with others from any device type such as PC, mobile phone, and Xbox,” Microsoft wrote.
This is being accomplished with the release of the Skype calling on Alexa devices.
The feature will allow making Skype audio and video calls, accept incoming Skype calls, and even make SkypeOut calls to most phone numbers around the world.
For video calls, a device like Echo Show with a screen and a camera is required.
In order to use the feature, users will say something like, “Alexa, call Jimmy on Skype,” or say, “Alexa, answer” when an incoming Skype call comes in..
Microsoft is calling it the “next step in the collaboration between Microsoft and Amazon to deliver delightful customer experiences.”
“We’re excited to continue bringing the best of Microsoft and Amazon together,” the company added.
Skype calling will be rolling out for Alexa devices starting “later this year.”
In the other Alexa, news, Amazon and Getty Images have announced a collaboration to bring image-based search results from Alexa on all Echo devices with a screen.
This new integration with Echo Show and Echo Spot, will enhance the voice response from Alexa by delivering visual as well as audio contents.
As part of this integration, Getty Images’ will allow Amazon to deliver “its extensive library of premium content.”
“Our premier collection of editorial, creative and archival content is a natural fit for Amazon’s Echo products, bringing best-in-class visuals to Echo users,” said Getty Images.
Adding, “We are honored to unite with Echo’s screen-based products and to use our deep library of content to give Alexa her best look yet,” it said.
In order to use, users on their Echo devices with a screen will say like, “Alexa, who won best Actress at tonight’s Academy Awards,” or “Alexa, what is the capital of Uruguay.”
In response, Alexa will give the answer with the most up to date premier imagery from Getty Images’ content creators.