Category: Microsoft Cortana

Report Finds Google Assistant The Most Accurate Smartphone Digital Assistant

Loup Ventures has posted their second annual Digital Assistant report and it shows just how accurate and reliable Google Assistant is when compared to its competitors.  In the report, Google Assistant was able to answer the 800 questions asked of it with 86% accuracy and it understood 100% of the questions it was asked during the test.  Assistant’s nearest competitor was Apple Siri which had a 78.5% accuracy rate and a 99% understanding rate.

The results reflect what a lot of people, particularly the Android faithful, felt about Google’s AI driven assistant.  Now it has more concrete proof to support those subjective feelings with this report from Loup Ventures.

Microsoft Looks Set to Allow Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant on The Xbox One

In what could prove to be the clearest sign yet that the personal assistant race is coming down to two horses, Microsoft appears to be set to allow both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant on the Xbox One.  The news, along with a supporting screenshot, came from the team over at Windows Central and points to users having the option to leverage the personal assistant of their choice on their Xbox One for controlling the device from their phone.

The news of this falls in line with other news that Microsoft is fundamentally shifting Cortana, their digital assistant, away from the consumer market and more toward the productivity side of things and not necessarily a personal assistant.  It appears that Microsoft is conceding to Alexa and Google Assistant.

Latest Microsoft Cortana Update Brings Voice Activated Calls and Texts

A new update to Microsoft Cortana for Android is rolling out today and it brings the ability to send a voice activated call or text from your phone.  The feature isn’t necessarily earth shattering as other assistants can do this too.  But it does give a clear indicator that Microsoft is continuing to develop and push Cortana feature-wise for their customer base.

The update in question is version for those keeping score at home and it is already in the Play Store.  If you have Microsoft Cortana installed on your phone, you likely already have the update – but double-check.

New Report Suggests Nearly 20% of Americans Have a Smart Speaker

A new report from suggests that 19.7% of Americans have at least one smart speaker in their homes with nearly 72% of them being Amazon Echo devices powered by Amazon Alexa.  The report goes on to suggest that by the end of the year, nearly 50% of households will have at least one smart speaker in their house.

The reports is based on a survey of 1,057 US adults and extrapolated from there.  While it may not be the largest sample size, it does give a solid indicator of where smart speakers going in the market and their adoption rate.  While Echo adoption was at 71.9%, Google was a distant 2nd at 18.4%.  The likes of the Hardon Karmon Invoke, powered by Microsoft Cortana, falls into the “other” category which accounted for 9.7% of devices.

Microsoft Cortana Likely Coming to Outlook for Android and iOS

When it comes to Personal Assistants on phones, we tend to think of Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa most often while iOS users tend to think of Siri.  But Microsoft Cortana slowly and quietly continues to develop and made inroads on both Android and iOS.  A new report suggests that Cortana is about to go even further into both platforms.

The Verge is reporting that Microsoft is working on integrating Cortana in Outlook for both Android and iOS.  This would allow for things like emails to be read to you while you are on-the-go but could also allow for dictation of emails.

Microsoft Launcher Update Brings Cortana Fully Integrated

Microsoft Launcher, the popular launcher app for Android, has a new and big update rolling out.  The new build is version 4.6 for those keeping score at home and it brings a full integration of Microsoft Cortana to the launcher.

Until now, Launcher and Cortana were two separate downloads and apps with basically no interaction between the two.  Now with the integration done, the behavior of Cortana in Microsoft Launcher is similar to the standalone app.  You can make calls, schedule meetings, change wallpaper and continue a browsing activity from your phone to your PC (assuming you are using Microsoft Edge in both places).

Microsoft Cortana Adds Support for Google Accounts

Microsoft has quietly rolled out a new feature on their personal assistant Cortana that Android users will appreciate.  Now in Microsoft Cortana, you can set up the assistant to have access to your Google account, allowing it to access both your Google calendar as well as your contacts.  Previously calendars and contacts were limited to Office 365 accounts or to an account.

The addition of Google services means that users of Cortana on their Android phone, PC or their Harman Kardon Invoke, will be able to ask Cortana about events on their Google Calendar or make a call to a Google Contact, a likely scenario for Android users.

As you would expect, this new integration requires that you connect your Google account to Cortana and authorize it.  This is done via Connected Services which can be found in your Cortana Notebook section of the app or on your PC.

Today’s Deal – Harman Kardon Invoke for $99 at Microsoft

Today’s Deal is on the new Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker that is powered by Microsoft Cortana.  This week at the Microsoft Store, you can pick up one of these awesome speakers for $99, a savings of $100.  No coupon code require and you can get it in either Graphite or White to match your décor.

I posted my review of the Invoke just yesterday and as I put in that review, it is one of the most stylish smart speakers out there with stunning audio quality as you would expect from Harman Kardon.  At the heart of the Invoke is Microsoft Cortana which, much like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, is a voice command away to help you with tasks or get information.

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