Android Users Can Replace Google Now with Cortana

A new update announced today will allow users of Android phones to replace their devices' Google Now intelligent personal assistant with the more popular Cortana digital assistant from Microsoft. The update, version, lets users choose Cortana as their app of choice when they long-press or swipe up from the Home button on Android devices.

Cortana helps users with such tasks as sending e-mails, setting up reminders, scheduling events and doing Bing searches. Windows is making an early version of the app available for a limited number of users. A private beta version of the update was released in July. A public beta with the latest update is said to be forthcoming.

For now, Cortana for Android is only available in the U.S. and China. Microsoft user forums today contained numerous comments from users despairing that the update wasnEUt available where they lived. Microsoft is promising frequent updates to the app to expand its features and functionality.

Default to Cortana

Microsoft is asking potential adopters to take a survey to get a download link. The update is also reportedly available via unofficial Android application package download sites. In the latest beta version, users can replace the shortcut for Google Now by pressing and holding their devices' Home buttons, according to a report from The Verge. After the update, Google Now can still be accessed, but Cortana can be set as the default Home button setting.

The update is a result of MicrosoftEUs Windows Everywhere program, whose aim is to expand the range of Windows apps and services so that theyEUll be installed on devices running operating systems not normally associated with Microsoft, including GoogleEUs Android and AppleEUs iOS. Microsoft has recently introduced other Windows apps to competing platforms. Redmond has also released the App Portability Bridge, which lets developers transfer existing apps between...

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