Competition is good, but what if that competition means you have to make a choice between digital assistants? You’ll have the luxury of experiencing this dilemma later this summer.
Microsoft announced it’s bringing Cortana to Android as soon as July. Android users will be able to download a beta version of Microsoft’s digital assistant from the Google Play Store. It won’t have all of the features available to Windows Phone 8.1 users, but it will serve as a helpful companion app for those who have Windows 10 PCs at home.
The story behind the story: Microsoft’s been moving fast to make its apps available across all platforms, but this takes the cake. Cortana is ostensibly Google Now’s equivalent for the Windows platform, except with more personality and bigger branding. Cortana helped bring an edge to the ailing Windows Phone platform. Now that she’s expanding beyond Redmond’s ecosystem, it’ll be interesting to see how she plays with others.
Quit nagging me, Cortana
According to Microsoft, Cortana sounds like she’ll be a serious competitor for Google Now:
On your Android phone you can ask Cortana to remind you to walk the dog at 8pm in the evening, and then when you’re watching a movie your Xbox will interrupt playback to let you know it’s time to take the dog out.
Actually, it sounds like Cortana is going to be a bit of a nag. “Hey—Remember when you asked me to remind you to take the dog out? Yeah. Quit playing whatever game you’re playing and get your butt outside.” You’ll also be able to ask Cortana questions—like the meaning of life—and she can help you search for things. All results will pop up in Microsoft’s Bing search engine, naturally.
There are no details one when exactly the beta will go live, but we’ll keep you up to date as we learn more. I'm personally curious about how Cortana will hold up to the contextual abilities of Google Now—and soon, Google Now on Tap—built into Android.