Cortana can now replace Google Assistant on your Android phone

For a long while now, Microsoft has been trying to get users to install its apps for iOS and Android rather than pushing Windows Mobile as an OS, and the latest update to Cortana for Android means the digital assistant app can now take the place of Google Assistant (or Google Now) as the default smart AI on your phone.

As spotted by Android Police, the app can now walk you through the process of associating Cortana with a long-press on the home button. You'll be asked if you want to make it the default when launching the app for the first time, and if you say yes, you get taken to the app configuration screen in Android's settings.

That screen lets you change the default app for web browsing, for SMS messaging, and now for giving you instant help with a multitude of queries. iOS doesn't let you change the default apps like this, of course, so for the time being you're stuck with Siri if your current phone of choice is an iPhone.

No voice, for now

As per the testing done by Android Police, you can't set Cortana to launch via an OS-wide voice command using this method, and the app doesn't work in landscape mode for the time being either. Still, if you prefer your phone to have a Microsoft rather than a Google focus, it's worth setting up.

To get access to the setting, you need to have version 2.8.0 of Cortana for Android installed, which lists the new feature - "Now you can set Cortana as your default assistant on Android!" - in the changelog on the app listing.

As you would expect, all of your Cortana settings, including reminders and favorite destinations, carry across to the Android app. If you use Cortana extensively on a Windows 10 machine, then you can now take all that gathered knowledge with you on Android more easily than ever before.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.