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Microsoft simplifies smart assistant Cortana’s wake-up word

Microsoft simplifies smart assistant Cortana’s wake-up word
To facilitate voice control, Microsoft has made Cortana’s wake-up word from “Hey Cortana” to “Cortana.” The change has been updated to Cortana-powered speaker Invoke, but devices running on other systems like iOS, Android and Windows 10 will receive this update later. The old command “Hey Cortana” still works, too.

For sure, saying one word than is easier than saying two words. However, there are no clear reasons from Microsoft for this change.

One possible reason is to make it act similar to Amazon Alexa, as the two will be integrated in the near future. The official launch of the Alexa-Cortana integration has been postponed from the end of 2017, and Microsoft said the integration is still being tested. No dates have been announced on when the new voice assistant will be public.

Meanwhile, Apple still requires its users to say “Hey, Siri” and Google Home users need to say “OK, Google.”

Although entering late in the smart home market, Cortana is picking up speed step by step. The Invoke smart speaker was released last fall, and the assistant now supports smart home brands including Ecobee, Honeywell, TP-Link, Geeni, LIFX, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, Philips Hue, Wink and Insteon.

It also supports IFTTT so that Cortana users can connect their smart gadgets with 600 services and apps on the platform.

And maybe sometime this year or next year, Cortana users will get the Alexa power in the smart home. For example, they will be able to ask Cortana to open Alexa, ask Alexa to check Amazon Cloud Cam security camera and add toilet paper on the Amazon shopping list, and then turn back to Cortana for accessing Outlook calendar.

In the long term, Amazon is looking to a development where the primary assistant will be smart enough to automatically transmit a person’s request to whichever assistant knows a better answer.

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