Cortana announcements have flowed thick and fast during this year. The latest reveal from Microsoft will see the company change the way users engage with the voice assistant. Specifically, the way users invoke Cortana into action has been changed, and probably for the better.

People accessing the virtual assistant has been used to saying “Hey Cortana” to get the assistant to listen. Under the new system, users will need to simply say “Cortana” to start the service. Microsoft confirmed it first made the change for the Invoke smart speaker last week.

Users on Windows 10, iOS, and Android will receive the update soon, but until then are still on the “Hey Cortana” greeting. Indeed, the company says the old greeting will still work even after the change. That makes sense, of course, so users can use whichever Cortana initiator they want.

The new greeting introduction makes Cortana as easy to start as Amazon’s Alexa. Perhaps Microsoft has taken cues from Alexa since the company announced a partnership with Amazon last year.

Amazon and Microsoft announced a partnership to integrate Cortana and Alexa together. Doing so will allow both services to borrow from each as a guest. Cortana will get Alexa’s ability to search for shopping results, while Alexa will receive Cortana’s organizing and scheduling power.

The deal was supposed to go live before the close of 2017, although the self-imposed deadline was ultimately missed.

Busy Time for Voice Assistant

Over the last few weeks, Microsoft has made some important Cortana announcements for iOS. Firstly, the company boosted performance of its app by 20%, something Microsoft says provides a noticeable difference. Additionally, the company released Cortana specifically for the iPad for the first time.

Last week we reported on Microsoft’s plan to integrate Cortana into Outlook. Users of the email client will be able to have Cortana read emails too them. Similarly, the assistant can be used to respond to emails through voice dictation. For business users, this will be excellent when driving. For the rest of us, sending emails from the sofa will get a lot easier.