A new Cortana app for Android has been released, allowing users to switch from Google Now to Cortana for a virtual assistant. The latest update to Cortana for Android, creating version 22.214.171.124, allows users to set Cortana as the default digital assistant on their devices.
To set Cortana as your primary digital assistant for your device, all you have to do is press and hold the home button. Android will ask if you want to complete the action using Google Now or Cortana. Selecting Cortana will set it as the device’s default setting.
If you ever want to reverse this, simply go to the App Info settings page of Cortana and clear the defaults. The next time you press and hold the home button, you will be asked again whether you want to use Cortana or Google Now. Selecting Google Now will make it the default for your device.
There are a number of advantages to choosing Cortana over Google Now. Cortana is more willing to ask follow-up questions about what the user wants, while Google Now automatically does things even when it’s not told to. Google Now’s access to Google Maps makes it better for looking for places and giving directions, but Cortana is a pro at setting appointments and is compatible with more email providers.
Microsoft’s Anannya Podder wrote in a blog post, “Because your life is not limited to one device, neither is your digital assistant. Cortana is with you on your Windows 10 PC, tablet and phone – helping you whenever and wherever you need it. But we also know that there’s a choice of mobile devices out there, so we want help from our Windows Insiders to make sure she’s a great personal assistant on Android too.”
Cortana for Android cannot be activated with “Hey Cortana” yet due to hardware limitations. Aside from voice activation, Cortana for Android offers pretty much the same features as it does on Windows 10 and Windows Phone.
Microsoft announced a beta program for Cortana for Android in July. The beta program is currently available for users in the United States and China. Microsoft will release the full version of Cortana on Android later this year.