Microsoft is tweaking its Windows 10 operating system to expand functionalities of third-party digital assistants. The company has started teasing a new build of Windows 10 on PCs which will enable third-party digital assistants like Amazon Alexa to run directly from the lockscreen. This means Alexa will be able to listen to your voice on Windows 10 even when your computer is locked into the lockscreen.
Microsoft has started rolling out a new preview build version 18362.10005 for Windows Insiders which is touted to expand the capabilities to third-party digital assistants on Windows 10. The feature is expected to come to stable builds sometime in September and will allow voice assistants like Alexa to activate through its wake word even when a user’s PC is locked.
While Microsoft didn’t openly reveal that which third party assistants will be available through the feature, it’s highly likely that Alexa will be one of them, considering the partnership between them and Amazon has grown since their partnership in 2017. The company previously worked to co-integrate Alexa and Cortana.
While expanding the capabilities of Alexa right from the lockscreen looks interesting, the same also shed concerns on security and privacy. Allowing Alexa to activate on lockscreen could result in accidental wake-ups and executions. This is evident as Alexa has previously been caught eavesdropping into a couple’s private conversation and sharing the recording to a random contact. Reports have also emerged stating that Amazon employees are listening in on your conversations with Alexa.
And then there’s the possibility of hackers getting access to locked PCs with just your voice. If Microsoft allows third-party assistants access to the lockscreen, would it be able to control the consequences if things get out of hand?