Cortana vs. Google Now: Picking the Best Assistant for Android Users

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-08-11
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Previous
    Cortana vs. Google Now: Picking the Best Assistant for Android Users
    Next

    Cortana vs. Google Now: Picking the Best Assistant for Android Users

    Microsoft's Cortana allows users to activate the service on an Android device. Should Android users pick the virtual personal assistant over Google Now?
  • Previous
    Microsoft Cortana: It's All About Bing
    Next

    Microsoft Cortana: It's All About Bing

    Cortana runs on Bing search, relying on Microsoft's search engine to serve up answers to user questions. That's an essential factor in the choice between Cortana and Google Now. Some people prefer Google search, while others are used to working with Bing. Those who aren't impressed with Bing search or aren't even used to working with it may not be inclined to pick Cortana as their Android virtual personal assistant.
  • Previous
    Google Now Voice Command Support Is a Big Advantage
    Next

    Google Now Voice Command Support Is a Big Advantage

    Although Cortana can respond to voice commands on Windows 10, it's not available on Android. That's likely to be a problem for Android users who prefer their virtual assistant to respond to voice commands. It's extremely convenient to call out to a virtual personal assistant to get something done. In this case, the advantage rests with Google Now.
  • Previous
    Cortana Has a General Understanding of Its Surroundings
    Next

    Cortana Has a General Understanding of Its Surroundings

    One of the nice things about Cortana is its ability to maintain a basic level of situational awareness. It's able to keep track of things like a user's upcoming appointments, provide directions on how to get to meeting locations and estimate the optimal time to head to a meeting based on information collected from the Web. Cortana's potential is really unleashed when location data is plugged in so it can put information into context with users' geographical location.
  • Previous
    Google Now Fully Integrates With Google Services
    Next

    Google Now Fully Integrates With Google Services

    While Cortana relies on Microsoft's Bing, Google Now relies on Google services in order to work. So, users will find that Google Now will use Google search to get answers to questions and Google Maps to get the users to specific locations. If you are already used to working with Google services, there may not be a lot of incentive to switch to Cortana.
  • Previous
    Cortana Runs Across All Windows Devices
    Next

    Cortana Runs Across All Windows Devices

    Those who are already heavily invested in Windows will find a lot to like in Cortana. The application, after all, is integrated across all Windows 10 devices, which means users can keep Cortana synced and on the same page if they switch from a smartphone to a tablet. The same holds true for Android. Therefore, those who use Cortana on other devices won't need to teach it all over again when they boot it up on Android.
  • Previous
    Google Now 'Cards' Integrate Third-Party Applications
    Next

    Google Now 'Cards' Integrate Third-Party Applications

    One of the nicest features of Google Now is its Cards support. Users can choose from a host of Cards and see, in a single pane, all the Cards the user has downloaded. So, if a user is interested in world news, he or she can have that on a Card. Those interested in sports can have the latest sports information fed to them on another Card. Cards' integration is made possible with third-party apps and content, creating a Flipboard-like virtual magazine.
  • Previous
    Users Control How Cortana Interacts With Them
    Next

    Users Control How Cortana Interacts With Them

    One of the nice things about Cortana is that Microsoft provides support for users to establish their own settings on the platform. So, if a user wants Cortana to respond to voice commands, it can. If the user doesn't want Cortana to provide suggestions and reminders, it won't. Having some control over what Cortana says is central to the feature's functionality.
  • Previous
    Google Now Is All About Delivering Relevant Information
    Next

    Google Now Is All About Delivering Relevant Information

    Google Now is big on relevance and providing information that in some way relates to a person's surroundings. With help from Cards, users can find information that is relevant to their immediate surroundings, including photos of nearby locations, where to make reservations at local restaurants and more. Like Cortana, Google Now has location-aware features and works best when they're turned on.
  • Previous
    Cortana Keeps Learning About the Users' Interests
    Next

    Cortana Keeps Learning About the Users' Interests

    Ultimately, Cortana is a learning app that examines a person's activities and responds accordingly. So, if Cortana knows that a person happens to like to spend time in a particular location, it may provide additional suggestions about what's available around that location. A Notebook feature also lets users provide information about themselves and their interests, and Cortana can refine and expand on the information it provides to users. It's a critical feature in Cortana's offering.
  • Previous
    Google Now Learns Too
    Next

    Google Now Learns Too

    Like Cortana, Google Now is always learning. The app tracks a person's activities and serves up related information. The app can be made aware of when the user is heading home, and it will provide the most efficient routes home. Besides providing information on the day's weather, Google Now can be prompted to provide reminders based on location and the user's schedule to help keep the user on time.
 

The virtual personal assistant world is starting to become far more interesting. The latest beta of Microsoft's Cortana allows users to activate the service on an Android device in place of Google Now. While the feature is only available to Microsoft Insiders, it's the first major step Microsoft has taken toward challenging Google Now on Android. Moreover, Cortana may actually succeed in winning over some Android device users who are convinced that Microsoft's personal assistant is superior. Microsoft's move, in other words, could be the first step toward what may become a bruising competitive battle on Google's mobile operating system. With that in mind, this is a good time to take a look at the two rival personal virtual assistants to identify the stand-out features that might give one or the other an edge. The latest version of Cortana has received good reviews, and Google Now is widely considered a strong offering on the Android platform. But is one decisively stronger than the other? This slide show covers the features that could help users decide which assistant to favor.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
 
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters























 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rocket Fuel