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Microsoft drops ‘Hey Cortana’ in favor of just ‘Cortana’ on smart speakers

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Cortana speaker
Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Microsoft is altering the way you activate its Cortana digital assistant with your voice. The first Cortana-powered Invoke speaker now lets users simply summon the digital assistant using “Cortana” instead of the usual “Hey Cortana” command. The change isn’t live on Cortana for iOS, Android, or Windows 10, but it will likely appear there soon. Microsoft says it implemented the change last week for the Invoke speaker, and the old ‘Hey Cortana’ still works too.

Moving to just Cortana makes Microsoft’s assistant as easy to summon as Amazon’s Alexa. Microsoft and Amazon both partnered last year to further integrate Alexa and Cortana so both assistants can be used on rival devices. That work was supposed to be available before the end of 2017, but it’s clearly taken longer than expected. On a recent Windows Insider podcast, Microsoft officials revealed they’re currently testing the integration internally, but there’s no firm date on a release to the public.