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Cortana Update brings a New Widget for Voice Searches & More

February 1, 2016 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Cortana, which is Microsoft’s attempt at a personal assistant that competes with Google Now and Siri, is available on Android – just as Google Now is available on iOS. On Monday, Microsoft updated Cortana with a nifty new feature. It brings a widget that you can place on your home screen, this will allow you to get faster access to Cortana for doing things like seeing your reminders and completing voice searches and much more. In this update, the widget is all about accessing Cortana easier for Android users. And adding in that widget will do just that. You’ll find the new widget in the widget section of your phone – which will vary depending on the phone you have as well as the launcher you are using.

Other new goodies in version 1.4.0 of the Cortana app ┬áinclude a faster load time for the app. We’ve all been there, opening an app only for it take its sweet time in actually opening. That shouldn’t be much of an issue anymore with this update. Microsoft has also provided us with a better loading experience for those with a slower connection, or even an unstable network. Voice interactions have also become more stable in this update to Cortana.

Adding in this widget is a way for Microsoft to make Cortana easy to access for everyone. Seeing as they removed the “Hey Cortana” command a few months ago, due to it interfering with Google’s “OK Google” for Google Now. That’s one of the big advantages Google has over Microsoft on Android – since they build the OS. Is that Google Now is much more baked into the US. Swipe up from the home button and you’ve got Google Now, and with Now on Tap, you can do that anywhere and get information about the page you’re on. A big advantage over Cortana, but that hasn’t scared Microsoft and Cortana away, yet. It appears that adding a widget seems to be the most logical way of getting around the confusion of “OK Google” and “Hey Cortana”, however it is still up to the user to actually add that widget to one of their home screens.