Virtual assistants are all about convenience and automating tasks is one of their core features. However, on Android, Microsoft’s Cortana has never been able to read SMS messages back to users. Microsoft is changing that with an update for its virtual assistant that adds the tool.
As you would expect, this is a much asked for feature, especially amongst business users. Cortana has previously allowed Android users to reply to messages, but she would never read received correspondence.
The feature is currently in beta on Google’s mobile platform, but is enabled by default on Cortana when your smartphone is connected to another device via Bluetooth. For example, if you are driving, you can connect your Android device to the in-car system and let Cortana dictate incoming messages.
For those concerned about privacy or simply not interested in this ability, you can turn it off in the app. As the feature is in beta, we expect some kinks need to be ironed out. Still, it will be interesting to see how accurate Cortana is at reading and pronouncing full texts.
Microsoft has been showing plenty of love to its personal assistant this year. Just after people started doubting the company’s commitment to Cortana, Redmond doubled down on the service.
Just last week, the company introduced Calendar Search and ‘Cortana Show Me’ Voice Support on Windows 10 Spring Creators Update.
In February, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reconfirmed the company’s commitment to the service. He even claimed the company would ultimately beat Amazon’s Alexa in the virtual assistant race:
“That’s why we’re working with Alexa, and we would welcome it on our devices because we believe in a world where our own assistant should be available everywhere and so should other assistants be available on our devices,” he noted.