Natively speaking to Cortana and Google Assistant


Hey Google I said, followed by a request to list my appointments. I had nothing. Then I started Cortana and asked the same question. I got my list from my calendar.

It wasn’t accidental. On my Nokia 7 Plus I have Google Assistant mapped to the home key and Cortana as an icon on the home screen. I can use either assistant. I was half tempted to try Alexa because she lives in my home speakers. The Echo is there because the Invoke is a US only product and, I am reliably informed by Microsoft, my Amazon devices will work with Cortana soon.

However, I am diverting myself. The key issue here is that as Microsoft retreats from the consumer ecosystem I have to use Google services. My email and calendar is on In my Windowsphone days everything was integrated. Now I am split between Google that supports Windows by having the browser everyone uses but nothing else and Microsoft that barely supports it’s own products for consumers.

I could go all in on Google. Forget, my Office 365 Home, Microsoft apps and the like. Just cave in to the feeling that Microsoft barely even notices me and move to Google.

Voice assistants are definitely part of the ecosystem. If you use one then you get drawn into the supporting products. I am now reflecting on whether I should give up on Cortana. Give up because outside the USA it’s genuinely less useful and Microsoft don’t really seem to be making it better. Give up because I use voice assistant help primarily on the phone and Google Assistant is just better on mobile.

Having moved from Windowsphone I am just contemplating killing Cortana. Arguably I may kill her on my own system before Microsoft pulls the plug on Cortana for consumer.

Comments (4)

4 responses to “Natively speaking to Cortana and Google Assistant”

  1. tsay

    I actually bought the Invoke off the US store after it dropped to $100, delivered to my cousin in NJ and he shipped it over to the $155/£120. No regrets, great sound and very stable for quite some time now.

    Four of us in the house, and have Office 365 Home/Spotify Family.....oh yes, and our cat Louis uses the family email account (5th Office license and 1TB onedrive), which is used for the 5th Spotify household account and he has a user profile on the lounge AOI with Cortana set to US (he's a very English cat so was put out by this...).

    He set up Spotify Connect to the Invoke via his account so Cortana is alive and uploaded all our ripped CDs (ours, the kids don't do CDs) using Media Player to his OneDrive Music folder which is also shared to the other family 0365 household accounts and the lounge AOI or any of the laptops/mobiles can stream libraries/playlists from local device apps to the Invoke, use Groove or Invoke Cortana...

    Oh yes, we were one of the few who used Rooms on windows mobile purely for the shared family calendar and that's where all household entries go. Rooms died, but the calendar stayed as part of the user profiles (including Louis's) so when I Invoke Cortana to tell me what's happening, she reads out the family calendar and thankfully Louis doesn't put any of his activities in there to clutter it up - I firmly believe this is an undocumented "feature", works for now, could die any minute.

    It's not how I would have designed the perfect integrated solution (and there are NONE) but it's working for us. :-)

    • Tony Barrett

      In reply to tsay:

      You did all that just to get an Invoke? Crazy man. This is a product that was on sale almost as soon as it was launched. MS have done little or no advertising, and sales have been pretty dismal. Maybe it was the price that attracted you, or the fact that it might still work with Alexa once MS drop it. Still, a brave move.

      • jrswarr

        In reply to ghostrider:
        At 100 bucks the invoke is worth it. I bought 2. Does exactly what I want it to, play Spotify and intune. I can ask about the weather, get my appointments, and generally handle most questions Bing can handle. Could care less about the home automation crap.

  2. Nicholas Kathrein

    I have a pixel 2 XL , one google home and about 5 google home minis, and 3 or 4 chromecast audio devices, a nest thermostat, nest door bell, and android TV streaming boxes. One built into a Sony HDTV and an nvidia shield tv. It all works great together. All the main rooms you can "just have google do it" as their ads say. I can tell google to play music in any room and play to a group of rooms. If ask ask for my what's on my calendar it gives me my calendar because it knows my voice and if my wife asks it gives hers because it knows her voice. When I ask to play music it knows by my voice to use my music service and when she asks it users her preferred choice of Pandora. I don't have any powered lights or switches but all in all it's great. I can even send a message throughout the house. If it's time for dinner I can have the speakers in all the rooms play that message. Best of all I don't even have to be home to do that. I can do that from the phone. So if you want you can have the phone broadcast that your on your way home. It comes in handy. I was locked out once and used my phone to say "I'm locked out! Let me in!". My mother in law locked the door in the garage and I didn't have my keys for the front door. Anyway it worked like a charm.