Microsoft and Amazon have taken the first step towards bringing conversational AI’s to users by linking their voice assistants. Although there is stil
Microsoft and Amazon have taken the first step towards bringing conversational AI’s to users by linking their voice assistants. Although there is still a lot of research required before conversational AI can reach their true potential, this move will certainly hasten developments. Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa will be paired together so that people can have more accessibility on different devices.
People are still uncertain about the helpfulness of this collaboration from a user perspective. Some experts believe that it will be a hassle for people to instruct a voice assistant for getting commands done by another voice assistant. Whereas, other experts applaud the move considering that people will be able to update schedules, presentations and transfer other information on different devices much easily.
Behind the deal, there is mutual benefit for both Microsoft and Amazon. Since both the companies are friendly competitors, they can agree to cover each other’s weaknesses instead of increasing them. Cortana has a number of brilliant enterprise integrations while Alexa is great with respect to e-commerce and media but average users may be unaware of these facts while searching.
Even though, Cortana is a well-built voice assistant, its usage has sunk. Alexa on the other hand has taken the lead with highest users. Thus, it is possible that Microsoft is aiming to increase the reach of Cortana through this partnership. The CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella clearly stated that the company’s priority is to make Cortana available for customers on any device.
Bing has been optimized for generating revenue through advertising. With increased traffic, the ads can target easily and give profitable output making more advertisers interested in Bing. Therefore, more traffic to the search engine will directly lead to increased profits for Microsoft.
Alexa already is the most preferred voice assistant making their reason for coming into partnership dubious. According to Reza Zadeh who is a professor in machine learning at Stanford University and founder of Matroid, Amazon may be looking to gather knowledge graph and search data. This is because presently Alexa lacks behind in answering questions and executing searches.
Alexa uses Microsoft Bing as the default search provider at this time but, this still does not provide Alexa access to all information at Bing. According to Zadeh who is currently a Google employee and formerly was Microsoft’s advisor, Amazon may be looking for better access to the internals of the web search engine instead of the basic API which is easily available. Although some people think that this might just be an advertising method for Amazon, others believe that Jeff Bezos is after something of greater importance.
If this partnership is just a trade for increasing traffic by granting more access to search engine, then it won’t last long. Thus, Amazon will soon need to get better searching capability and knowledge graphs themselves to keep their hold in the market. Microsoft on the other hand will have to stop depending on Echo and adopt effective methods of generating traffic. Overall, in the coming time, a number of conversational AI’s are expected to constantly compete against each other for providing the best services to user.
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