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Microsoft Introduces Skills Kit to Make Cortana Smarter

11 May 2017

The new skills are similar to Amazon's Echo skills, allowing developers to integrate their apps and services into the Cortana digital assistant.

Have you been itching to get your hands on the Cortana Skills Kit? The kit had originally only been available for select developers. Cortana's skills are also immediately available without the addition of another application.

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Microsoft is infusing all of its products and services with AI, and enabling those who develop on its platform to imbue creations with customized capabilities, according to executive vice president of artificial intelligence and research Harry Shum. Cortana will also be aware of what type of device it's in-a home speaker, a vehicle, or a computer-and provide contextually-relevant assistance and information.

Do you think Cortana can surpass Alexa? "Hey Cortana, ask Dark Sky for today's forecast" will trigger a forecast from Cortana, and Windows 10 users won't need to actually install or authorize Dark Sky to start using it.

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Earlier this week Microsoft announced that a new Cortana enabled device, the Harman Kardon Invoke, would be arriving later this year. It will also collaborate with Expedia, Capital One, and home fix company TalkLocal to additional more Cortana skills. Cortana is now used by 145 million people each month. Her most recent skills include reminding users of events from their emails and displaying quick links in the Action Center.

During today's Build 2017 Day One keynote it was revealed that Harman Kardon would not be the only company partnering with Microsoft to build a device to host the companies Cortana digital assistant.

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Microsoft Introduces Skills Kit to Make Cortana Smarter