It was never going to be easy for Microsoft to have a voice assistant on Android when the Google Assistant was out there, and it looks like the company has finally thrown in the towel. Beginning in early 2021, support for Cortana will be ended on Android, iOS, and a couple of small platforms. Cortana had already been phased out in several countries a few months ago, but this change will be global.
Amazon is working on something called "Alexa for Apps," a new feature that will better integrate the company's smart digital assistant with the apps on your phone via voice commands. And we don't just mean asking Alexa to start an app, we mean further passing details from your question or command to the app itself.
Amazon's voice assistant works on a ton of devices from TVs to tablets. There's even an Alexa app on Android that lets you talk to Alexa instead of your default voice assistant. Support for full Alexa voice interaction came in 2018, but it's always required a press of the big blue button — until now.
There's still a little bit of magic every time you say "OK Google" and all your smart speakers, displays, and Android handsets line up to respond with a cacophony of lights and buzzes. But while that makes for a fun little display, sometimes we wish that all these smart devices weren't so sensitive, and that things like Google Home were better about knowing when you were talking to them in particular. Thankfully, it looks like a new "Hey Google" sensitivity setting is about to arrive, letting users control how responsive they want their devices to be.
These days, you can control most of your smart home using only your voice — Google Assistant lets you adjust your bed, mow the lawn, open your closets,start your Xbox, control your TV, and so much more. Routers and networks are the latest new addition to the Assistant's library of natively supported actions, allowing for things like reboots, software updates, and parental controls on third-party networking devices.
Not even a year after the great John Legend lent his voice to Google Assistant, it's been made clear that his graces are indeed only temporary. Google has announced that his cameo voice will no longer be available from March 23.
With Google Assistant pre-installed on any Android phone (and Siri on iPhones), you should think you already have all tools at your disposal when you want to yell at your phone to control your audio playback. However, Spotify seems to think that it needs its own solution. App reverse-engineer Jane Manchun Wong managed to activate a hidden settings panel in the music app that will let you enable a "Hey Spotify" feature you can use while the app is open and on your screen.
Back in 2017, researchers in China reported on a clever way to access a digital assistant, like Google Assistant or Siri, by using inaudible ultrasonic sound waves. Now a new team at Washington University in St. Louis have been working on similar technology, and their version is even more capable (and scary) than the original.
We've known since June that Microsoft was working on integrating Alexa and Google Assistant with Xbox in lieu of its own voice assistant, Cortana. With Alexa support already up and running on Xbox One, it's now time for Google Assistant to get in on the action.