Now Microsoft's Cortana can help you place a Skype call

A Skype for Windows Phone update integrates the virtual assistant. You can make a call by saying. "Skype, get Mom on the screen," Microsoft says.

Microsoft Cortana James Martin/CNET

Microsoft has added its virtual assistant software to Skype -- though it's limited to the Windows Phone platforms.

Update 2.19 for Skype on Windows Phone 8 and Phone 8.1 (in the US) now integrates Cortana, a voice recognition technology that was introduced at the company's Build conference in April.

"Now you can start Skype video and audio calls by simply asking Cortana something like 'Skype, get Mom on the screen,'" Microsoft said Thursday.

The Skype update also has increased language support, from 19 to 51 languages, and improved notifications, the company said.

Cortana, currently in beta (on an opt-in basis), is slated to be a major component in Microsoft's future operating systems for Windows Phone, Windows, and Xbox One.

It will eventually roll out to all Windows Phone 8.1 users worldwide in late 2014 and early 2015.

Note that CNET and other reviews have found Cortana "frustrating" in some respects due to bugs in the beta software, though they are expected to be fixed by the time it arrives on Windows Phone later this year.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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