August 10, 2015
Microsoft is doing all it can to usurp Google Now on Android handsets.
The software giant has updated its Cortana for Android app to replace the Google Now shortcut in favor of its own digital assistant. Users simply press and hold the home button to activate the functionality.
“When the first beta of Cortana for Android was released, it was missing a nifty feature: the ability to set it as the default personal assistant aka the home button shortcut,” Microsoft said in a blog post. “That means, if you’ve Google Now on your Android Smartphone … you can replace it with Cortana — which is indeed a much-needed addition.”
The latest version of Cortana for Android, 18.104.22.168, does not have the ‘Hey Cortana’ voice activation feature because of hardware compatibility issues. Those who are part of the beta program can check for updates via Google Play. Those wanting to join, can find more info here.
The Cortana Android app will work in conjunction with the digital assistant on users’ Windows 10 PCs courtesy of the ‘Phone Companion’ app which aids them in installing the app from the Google Play Store onto their phone.
The Cortana app for Android will not have the same abilities that Cortana does on Windows phones, however. Although the functionality of the app is helpful on the handsets, because it is just an app, there will be a few things that won’t work on Android-run handsets that those with Windows phones enjoy.
Microsoft has been billing Cortana as a superior choice over digital assistance offerings from Apple and Google.
Users can either speak or type to ask Cortana a question and ‘she’ will respond in turn.
The first time a user interacts with Cortana, she will learn the user’s name, how to pronounce it, and ask for some personal interests. The digital assistant uses the person’s answers to curate content that would be of interest such as flight information for someone planning a trip, weather updates, the latest news, and even traffic information on familiar routes.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.