We first gave Cortana beta for Android a try a few weeks ago, and I just wasn’t impressed. Our own Cam Bunton went on to give it a deeper look and a comparison to Google Now and was a little less cynical than I, but overall neither os us were convinced that it is something that Android users need. I would argue that that’s still the case, but Microsoft clearly hasn’t given up yet. With a recent update to the app, you can now set Cortana as the home button shortcut.

Screenshot_2015-08-09-11-12-021I’ve always been astonished that a company could introduce a voice assistant as a third party app and expect people to just ditch the highly-integrated Google Now in favor of a couple niche features. Even if Cortana was the best voice assistant to ever exist — which it isn’t — I would still be hesitant to make any kind of commitment to it. Google Now is integrated deeply in everything I do, pulls info from many of my Google services, and I can even enable always-on hotword detection.

And yet Hound made its entrance hoping to be some kind of Google Now replacement, and Microsoft has attempted the same. The former I found to be fairly impressive, and the latter is just… a miserable flop. But either way, it would take a lot to convince me to use a third party voice assistant over Google Now. Microsoft seems bent on convincing me, though, with this update, which will let users activate Cortana from the home button — no longer needing to go digging through the app drawer to access their favorite Halo-inspired assistant.

To grab the latest version of the app the way Microsoft would prefer, you can head over to their official blog and fill out a survery. Otherwise, APKMirror has a copy that you can install right now if you wish.

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About the Author

Stephen Hall

Stephen is Growth Director at 9to5. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter. Or, email at stephen (at) 9to5mac (dot) com, or an encrypted email at hallstephenj (at) protonmail (dot) com.