Skype for iOS and Android devices now comes with Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Microsoft announced it is rolling its Cortana digital assistant in the Skype app for iOS and Android devices for users in the United States. Cortana will be able to provide assistance by looking up information that’s relevant to a user’s Skype conversation.

“With Cortana’s in-context assistance, it’s easier to keep your conversations going by having Cortana suggest useful information based on your chat, like restaurant options or movie reviews,” The Skype Team said on their blog post. “And if you’re in a time crunch? Cortana also suggests smart replies, allowing you to respond to any message quickly and easily—without typing a thing.”


To start using Cortana on Skype, users will only have to start a chat with one of their friends. They can have a regular conversation all they want and Cortana’s suggestions will pop up automatically if it knows it can provide assistance.

For example, a user could suggest to his friend that they could watch a movie together. Cortana’s suggestion will pop up just beneath that message to provide that movie’s IMDB page. Cortana can also provide smart replies along with suggestions, which is a really convenient way of replying to a message without actually typing.

Another great thing that Cortana on Skype can do is that it can help users organize their schedule. If Cortana detects that the users are talking about scheduling, it will suggest that they should set up a reminder. When a user creates a reminder with Cortana on Skype, that reminder will also be received to their other devices that have Cortana enabled. This makes sure that users are able to receive their reminders even when they’re not using Skype.


Lastly, Skype users can actually have one-on-one conversations with Cortana herself. Users will be able to ask Cortana about weather information, sports scores, flight status or suggest the best restaurants that are nearby.

The addition of Cortana on Skype is part of Microsoft way of making sure that conversations aren’t interrupted. On the company’s part, this is also an opportunity to expand the availability of Cortana.

“Looking for information often requires interrupting the conversation, even if briefly, and switching apps to find what we’re looking for and bring it back into the conversation,” The Skype Team said. “But shouldn’t technology make our lives easier and truly bring the answers we need to our fingertips? At Skype we are certain about it, and it’s with this goal in mind, that we are bringing Cortana, Microsoft’s intelligent assistant, into Skype to help you in your everyday conversations.”

Microsoft first announced Cortana’s integration in Skype back in March 2016. This type of integration is already being compared to how Google Assistant is integrated in Google’s Allo messaging app. To a certain extent, Cortana’s functions in Skype also seems similar to how Facebook implements its chatbots on Messenger, as pointed out by The Verge.

Cortana is slowly being rolled out to Skype users in the U.S. first, but it will most likely reach other markets sometime down the line. Android Police speculates that it’s possible that Microsoft could bring Cortana to the desktop version of Skype, but nothing official has been announced yet.