Microsoft: Hey! Just Say Cortana

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If you own a smart speaker or use one of the voice-activated digital assistants on your phone, you're used to starting requests with "OK Google, "Alexa," or "Hey Cortana," but that last one is about to change. Microsoft is dropping the "Hey."

As The Verge reports, in the very near future we can stop saying "Hey Cortana" and activate the assistant with just "Cortana" instead. The first Cortana-enabled device to receive this update is Harmon Kardon's Invoke ( at Microsoft Store) smart speaker. The Invoke was the first smart speaker to ship with Cortana, but was viewed as a poor competitor for Amazon and Google smart speakers in our PCMag review because Cortana isn't as polished.

The switch to single-word Cortana activation is limited to the Invoke right now, but that's sure to change soon. Microsoft is expected to update Cortana on Windows 10 and for iOS and Android so they also drop the use of the extra word.

Meanwhile, we're still waiting for the Cortana and Alexa integration that was promised last year. once implemented, it will mean Alexa is accessible through Cortana, and vice-versa, so you can say "Cortana, open Alexa" or "Alexa, open Cortana." We were meant to see this functionality roll out before the end of 2017, but it didn't happen. The last update we had was in early January when Microsoft told us: "We'll have more to share soon."

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