Microsoft Disables 'Hey Cortana' Voice Search for Android

Microsoft Disables 'Hey Cortana' Voice Search for Android

Microsoft has updated Cortana for Android to remove a handy hands-free feature from it. The company this week updated its virtual assistant on Google's platform to remove the "Hey Cortana" hotword feature.

Microsoft released Cortana for Android earlier this month in the United States and China. One of the interesting features of Cortana was its hands-free "Hey Cortana" listening activity. The feature, similar to "OK Google", allowed users to initiate a search or query by using voice commands.

But the latest version of Cortana for Android on the Google Play store doesn't have this feature, as also noted in the changelog. The company told VentureBeat that it had to pull the feature in the United States because it was interfering with Google's hands-free feature.

"We've received user feedback that the 'Hey Cortana' feature is conflicting with Android voice search and are temporarily disabling the feature while we evaluate a solution," a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat.

While the company hasn't specified the exact conflicts, media reports from earlier this month noted that some users weren't able to access their microphone to use Google Now feature after installing Cortana on their smartphone.

Many users had also found a workaround for this software glitch. Manually disabling the "Hey Cortana" feature in the app apparently enabled Google Now and Google Searches to accept "Ok Google" listening feature again.

While it's nice of Microsoft to disable the feature - albeit temporarily - it's surprising that this glitch wasn't reported when Cortana was still in the beta testing phase.

The Cortana v1.2 for Android update, apart from removing the 'Hey Cortana' hotword detection feature, also aims to improve stability of the assistant, and enhances the call and text features, as mentioned in the changelog. It is worth mentioning that Cortana for Cyanogen OS-powered devices, which was released alongside Cortana for Android and iOS, continues to have the 'Hey Cortana' listening feature.


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