When Cortana made its way to the Windows 10 desktop, lots of users were excited by the prospect of a Microsoft version of Siri. Moving to Android as well as Windows 10 Mobile devices, Cortana could really compete with not just Siri's voice control options, but also OK Google.
Now this has changed -- at least for Android users in the US. The latest update to the app strips out the voice activation options leaving users questioning whether or not there is any point in having the app installed.
Cortana is no longer limited to devices running Windows 10. After short period of public beta testing, Microsoft's digital assistant is now rolling out not only to iOS and Android, but also Cyanogen OS devices.
Just as on Windows 10 Mobile handsets, these new releases include many of the features that are found in the desktop version of Cortana. There are, however, some functions that remain exclusive to Windows phones -- you cannot, for example, change system settings in iOS and Android nor, frustratingly, use the hands-free "Hey Cortana" voice command.
As we come to the end of 2015, I begin reflecting on the year. While a lot of my memories are tech related, the truly important reflections involve friends and family. Ultimately, technology should be a part of our lives, not the entirety of our lives.
Apple is a company that I greatly respect, as it seemingly understands this concept. Regardless of your opinion of its products, it is undeniable that its devices and services are improving people's lives daily. A huge factor in its focus on users and society is the leadership of Tim Cook -- a person I greatly admire. His sincerity regarding equal rights is heartwarming, and throughout 2015 he has shown deep commitment. Today, Cook, with the help of Siri, is starting a conversation on cerebral palsy.
Another Thanksgiving is upon us, as Americans stuff their bellies with turkey and vittles, before falling asleep during the afternoon football game. It's the day of family feuds, too much food, and setting the mood for the holiday season ahead.
We also count our blessings and give thanks for the year behind. I got to wondering what Google can be grateful for and compiled a short list for you. Perhaps you would like to add to it in comments or lash out at my lack of sensitivity on this special day. Please do. With that brief introduction, I present 5 things for which Google can give thanks, served in no particular order of importance.
Digital assistants such as Siri are billed as great time-savers, and there's no denying that Apple's voice-activated feature can be a real help. But security experts at Trend Micro warn that it also poses a serious privacy risk for iPhone owners.
Even if your iPhone is protected with a PIN or passcode, it could still be possible for someone else to use Siri to learn personal information about not just you, but your relations and other contacts, as well as details about your schedule. Described by Trend Micro as a 'flaw', Siri actually acts as a backdoor that enables anyone with physical access to your phone to bypass security features.
Voice control is becoming increasingly common with the eager adoption of Siri and Cortana. Google has been in the game for some time as well, and today announces that the Google app is growing in intelligence, enabling it to 'understand' ever more complex questions.
Google's ability to recognize the context in which questions are asked is not new, but it has now evolved even further. Rather than just doing simple searches based on keywords, Google believes that it is "starting to truly understand the meaning of what you're asking".
OK Google, Siri, and Cortana all make it possible to control a phone simply by speaking to it. In the case of Google, what you might not be aware -- it's hardly something the company shouts about -- is that recordings of every command, question, and request are stored online.
Listening back through these could well be interesting, embarrassing, perhaps even nostalgic. You can step back in time and remind yourself of trips abroad, fun nights out, and the like, but you might also be concerned about privacy. If you would rather these recordings were not stored online, you can delete them; here's how.
Google is so ubiquitous that it has become much more than just a company. It is a verb, an ecosystem, a way of life. But just as with anything that you experience every day, it's easy to take it for granted or overlook what's under your nose.
With your Android smartphone in your hand (or an iPhone for that matter), the Google app is a portal to a wealth of information; all you need to do is speak to your phone. It's easy to forget just how helpful the app is -- but Google is here to remind you that it is more than capable of taking on Siri and Cortana. The company has released a trio of videos highlighting what the app can do for you. And you know what? They're actually pretty decent.
Apple has sent out media invites to an event on 9 September. Widely expected to see the launch of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, the event takes place at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco at 10 am PDT.
The invitation itself gives little away, but it does include artwork that will undoubtedly feature on the big day, as well as the intriguing tagline 'Hey Siri, Give Us a Hint'. So does Siri have the answers? Tell us about the new iPhone!
The future is here. Apple is now preparing to launch a voicemail service that will use Siri to transcribe your messages. And since we all know what a pain it is to listen to those voicemails again, you will then receive a message from iCloud of the transcribed voicemail, although this is due in 2016.
Here’s the theory that Apple is using: people like to leave voicemails because it is much easier to leave an oral message as opposed to typing it all out in a text message. But, on the other hand, people don’t like to receive voicemails because it is much easier to read a message, than go through all the voicemails someone has left.
Siri has become known for providing amusing answers to certain questions and today a new one has taken the internet by storm.
When asked the question "What is zero divided by zero?", Siri responds in a witty yet comical manner, citing Cookie Monster’s cookies as an example.
This week, I had opportunity to use Apple Watch, making it third of the modern smart variety that I have experienced (the others being LG Urbane and Moto 360). The differences between the platforms are quite startling and worth highlighting. They begin with diverging design ethics derived from the fruit-logo company's app-centric heritage and Google's place in the cloud.
For people who use either Android handset or iPhone, existing device really determines what watch platform you choose, if any—that is for now. Down the path you go. But where it leads is somewhere else, not the same destination. One platform is more responsive to you in varying contextual situations. The other requires more direct interaction, but gives other benefits.
I have some advice for the European Union Competition Commission: Lay off. You don't need to reign in the Google monopoly. Apple will correct the market around search and mobile. That's one of two related takeaways from Monday's WWDC 2015 keynote. iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan up Apple's push into search and proactively-delivered information in big ways. That is if delivery is as good as the company promises.
The other takeaway harkens back to what I told you last week about Tim Cook's piracy rant against unnamed Facebook and Google alongside the friggin U.S. government -- plural if thinking beyond the Feds: It's BS marketing. Apple prepares a major competitive assault against Big G, hitting where damage can be severe: Perception and profits. I cannot overstate Google's vulnerability, which ironically is where the search and information giant exploited Microsoft during this Century.
Google voice search is awesome; I use it every day in the car or at home. If I want to know the weather, I just ask and it tells me. It helps me find the phone numbers for my favorite pizzerias and Chinese food restaurants, and when I am lost, I just say "take me home" and it does!
Like I said, it is awesome, but apparently, teens are using it more than adults. According to a new Google study, 55 percent of teens in the USA are using voice search; these young people are often the barometers of the next big thing. The search giant should be elated that this important demographic is embracing voice search; however, the study does not only include Google, but also Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana.
The advert wars continue with comparative ads aplenty fired at each other by the big tech giants, and the latest one extols the virtues of Microsoft's voice assistant compared to Apple's effort.
The "mirror mirror" commercial (spotted by the Verge) tries to promote the natural voice and manner of Cortana, and contrast it with Siri, which is made to sound clipped and robotic in comparison.