Microsoft will release Cortana on Android later this year. However, a beta version of its digital voice assistant to Google's mobile operating system was made available to select testers in July. While there are still a few weeks left before the company opens the app to everyone and we get to compare how it fares against Google Now, a recent update to the Cortana's Android beta app signals how Microsoft wants to go about it on the rival platform.
Bumping up the version number to 188.8.131.52 (via Microsoft-News), Microsoft has added the ability to make Cortana the default assistant on Android handsets. Which also means that users will be able to press and hold the home button on their respective smartphones and see Cortana instead of Google Now.
Considering the wide range of features that Cortana comes with, it could shape up to become the biggest rival to Google Now. Much like Now, Cortana offers you the ability to take notes, set alarms, look for directions, get reminders, and get news stories curated as per your taste. Cortana also shows you weather information, and answers a wide range of queries.
Google Now, however has a big advantage over Cortana on Android: deep integration with system apps and hardware. For instance, it supports voice commands like "Okay Google" that triggers the app from any screen - it's a feature that Cortana doesn't have because of software limitations.
Microsoft seemingly has a bigger plan with Cortana. It wants to use it as a companion to Cortana on PC. The company has previously noted that Cortana on desktop will be able to glean notification and notes and show it on the desktop.