Microsoft moved further towards opening up Cortana to developers at Build 2017 today by launching the Cortana Skills Kit in public preview. Previously available to select developers in a private preview launched last December, Cortana Skills Kit lets developers create skills — similar to Amazon's Alexa skills for Echo — that let the digital assistant tap into web services and bots.
Developers who have already been busy with Microsoft's Bot Framework can leverage their already existing bots as new Skills. Microsoft is even letting Alexa developers fast track their Cortana skills be re-purposing their code. Here's a quick recap of what the Cortana Skills Kit allows developers to do (opens in new tab):
- Leverage bots created with the Microsoft Bot Framework and publish them to Cortana as a new skill
- Integrate their web services as skills and re-purpose code from their existing Alexa skills to create Cortana skills
- Connect users to skills when users ask, and proactively present skills to users in the appropriate context
- Personalize their users' experiences by leveraging Cortana's understanding of users' preferences and context, based on user permissions
Cortana Skills Kit is currently available in the U.S. only, but developers can get started by publishing their skills to the Cortana channel on Microsoft's Bot Framework. Microsoft says skills are available across Windows 10, Android, iOS and the Harman Kardon's new Cortana-powered Invoke speaker.
Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to email@example.com.
US only, standard practice for MS.
Neat I have a therapist in my pocket now expect less angry posts everyone
Across Windows 10... So, available on Xbox One also then?
So, I checked and the answer is sort of. Out of the dozen or so skills I tried, around half would simply reply "I need your permission", but no matter what I did my permission wasn't accepted by Cortana. There was no on-screen display for me to select a button either. From the remaining half, a couple simply didn't work at all telling me for example "I cannot play music on Tunein". A few would tell me I needed to link my account and pop up an on-screen display (voice however did not seem to work to fill out the username/password form). Dark Sky seemed to work out of the box, although that may have been because I had already used and given my permission for this on my S8+. Also, the voice recognition on Xbox is still subpar.
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