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Android users can fire Google Now and replace it with Cortana

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Microsoft recently unveiled plans to launch its Cortana digital voice assistant on arch-rival Google's Android OS, but until now, you could only use it as a standalone app. However, the latest beta (1.0.0.204) lets you activate Cortana instead of Google Now by pressing and holding your Android home button. That's a new way for Android users to test the app's friendly ways and be tempted away from the businesslike Google Now. Since Cortana relies on Bing, it's also a sneaky way for Microsoft to do an end-run around Google search.

It won't displace Google Now completely, however. For instance, you'll never be able to shout "Hey, Cortana" instead of "OK Google" due to always-on listening limitations for third-party Android apps. In addition, the feature is only available on beta to Microsoft Insiders, so you won't find it on Google Play. Neverthless, it's another step in Microsoft's plan to get Cortana on more platforms and do to Google what Google's done to it for years.

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