Google Now is pretty awesome…assuming you use mostly Google tools and services by default. If you use a Windows PC, though, and rely on Microsoft Office productivity tools and other Microsoft services Cortana makes more sense as your virtual assistant. The Beta release of Cortana for Android is available now so you can replace Google Now and integrate your Android device almost seamlessly into your Microsoft / Windows 10 world.
I wrote this blog post about the value of Cortana on Android and why you should download it and give it a try:
One of the promises of Windows 10 is the ability to unite various platforms and streamline the user experience across the PC, mobile devices and even gaming consoles in your living room. Today Microsoft announced the public beta ofCortana for Android to extend that cross-platform functionality to the number one mobile device system in the world.
Ideally, Microsoft would prefer that you enjoy that cross-platform experience on a Windows Phone device but it’s willing to co-opt Android as well. The reality is that Windows Phone has barely enough market share to even register as a competing mobile platform and Microsoft has been not-so-subtly hijacking Android from the inside for a while now.
Microsoft plans to make Cortana available as an app for iOS as well, but the closed, proprietary nature of the iOS platform will make it much more difficult for Microsoft to subjugate the primary operating system or replace Siri. Android, on the other hand, is an open source platform with very few limitations in terms of what developers can do or how users can customize its functionality.
In a Blogging Windows post announcing the new Cortana app for Android, Microsoft explains, “The Cortana app can do most of the things Cortana does on your PC or on a Windows phone. With the app, you can manage your hectic lifestyle by setting and getting reminders, searching the web on-the-go, tracking important information such as flight details as well as starting and completing tasks across all of your devices.”
In other words, you can effectively replace the Google Now functionality with Cortana. There are still some limitations, though—even with Android. “You will also see a few differences between what Cortana can do today in her “native” environment (Windows) and in the app on Android. For example toggling settings, opening apps or invoking Cortana hands-free by saying “Hey Cortana” are only available on Windows for now.”
Read the full story on Forbes: Microsoft Launches Beta Cortana App For Android.