Cortana Skills Kit launches in public preview, opening up to more developers

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:

  • 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.

These are all of the 'Skills' currently available for Cortana

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl