Cortana Is Getting the Ability to Read Messages Aloud

Posted on April 11, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Microsoft with 27 Comments

Microsoft is expanding Cortana’s functionality on Android with a new feature for Messages. The company already lets users reply to messages from their PC using Cortana on Android, and the latest addition takes the SMS integration a step further.

With the latest update, Microsoft is adding a new feature that will enable Cortana to read messages aloud. The feature, currently in beta, will be enabled by default when your device is connected over Bluetooth to your car or another device. So when you are on the road driving and can’t look at your phone, as soon as someone texts you, Cortana will read the message aloud without you needing to do anything else.

Of course, some users may have privacy concerns, but Microsoft is letting users configure or completely turn off the feature. Keep in mind that this is only in beta for now, so there’s a very tiny chance of it not making it to a public release.

Thanks for the tip, Andrew!

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Comments (28)

28 responses to “Cortana Is Getting the Ability to Read Messages Aloud”

  1. cybrtitan

    Their post on this isn't that clear.. and I haven't driven around to test this yet but it seems you have to enable the feature then by default it reads all incoming text messages over Bluetooth … which is the exact behavior of windows mobile so i'm not sure what privacy they are talking about unless they are thinking about adding a don't read messages from these numbers feature

  2. kevin rose

    Does it work with all messaging services, like WhatsApp or Messenger? If not I don't really see much of a use case for this as I very rarely get anyone sending a traditional text message these days.

  3. Shel Dyck

    Sad that it's tied to Bluetooth. I'd like to have it all the time.

  4. Edward Grego

    Considering what's in the market now I find it funny that this is news, I find it funny, but it's actually sad...

  5. awesmdiver

    Well, this is good news but unfortunately not quite there yet. Just reads the text and announces the number, not the contact name and doesn't ask if you want to respond or anything else. I assume that is all coming, hopefully soon.

    Definitely the most missed Cortana feature from WP.

  6. Daekar

    Do we know if this will be enabled if you only have the Microsoft Launcher installed, or do you need the stand alone Cortana app?

  7. Lewk

    As a Windows Phone user, I can say this is the number 1 feature I still primarily still use Windows Phone for. Driving in my car and receiving messages and replying to them via Cortana is just so important and easy. Now that it's coming to android, this might be what causes me to switch.

  8. tdemerse

    As you all have said, this is absolutely my biggest missing feature from WP after switching. I hope they extend it to voice dictation too as with Windows Phone.

  9. richfrantz

    I want it all the time. Not just driving.

  10. GT Tecolotecreek

    Kinda like what Siri has been able to do since the iPhone 4.

    But remember, according to Paul T., Siri is terrible!

  11. shellback

    I had missed this interaction from windows phone for hands free use cases. It was INCONCEIVABLE, to me, that it isn't supported when I switched to android and it's assistant.

    Goes to show while the grass might be greener on the other side, you might miss the tire swing in your old yard.

  12. Clarkb

    Was shocked that Google Assistant lacked this as a native feature when i moved over to the Pixel. By far one of the most convenient features of a smart assistant on a phone and have sorely missed this.

  13. devSpeed

    It is about time. That is one of the big things I missed from Windows phone when I switched to Android.

    • nbplopes

      In reply to devSpeed:

      You should have switched to iOS than because this feature has been there for years.

      "Hey Siri, read last message"

      It reads and allows you to perform actions (reply, forward, delete=

      "Hey Siri, read my messages"

      Same thing.

      The thing I wanted is an a multilingual agent. I have messages sent to me in English, Portuguese, French and German. Because these agentes cannot read a message in one language and the next in another this feature in my context is mostly not used.

      But I understand it works very well if that is not the case.


      • reverseswing

        In reply to nbplopes:

        On Windows, you didn't have to ask for a message to be read. It would automatically ask tell you that a message came in from so and so and ask you for permission to read it, followed by options to reply or call back, etc. I used to have entire text based conversations from my car. On Android, I can't do that - even Android Auto doesn't do that. Having said that, i'm on this Cortana beta and I have it set to default voice assistant and I don't see this feature anywhere. Maybe it's still rolling out.

        • nbplopes

          In reply to reverseswing:

          In iOS it’s called spoken notifications I think. One can turn it in on and of. But I don’t think it can automatically switch on and off as Bluetooth connections come and go. There are some challenges with the later, one is in the context of Privacy.

    • jbinaz

      In reply to devSpeed:

      The way Windows phone handled text messages over Bluetooth in my car was excellent. It seemed cumbersome at times but having used Google's implementation for a while (which I found cumbersome), I grew to appreciate it.

  14. mariusmuntensky

    Why on earth would I use Cortana on Android or IOS instead of Google Assistant or even Siri?? No thanks...MS junk

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