Now that Google has unveiled the new additions to its Home speaker lineup and Sonos has launched its own Alexa-enabled device, Microsoft seriously has to hurry up if it wants its assistant to have a shot at finding a place in our homes. Even though we may finally be close to seeing the Cortana-enabled Harman Kardon Invoke speaker arrive in stores, Microsoft is still lagging behind its rivals in the smart home race. The company may be trying to catch up, and has added a new "Connected Home" section to the Cortana Notebook menu in some Windows 10 PCs.
If you're using a Windows 10 computer, just type "Cortana Notebook" into the Start menu. You should see a new item called Connected Home. After you enable this, Cortana can connect to smart home services like Hue, SmartThings, Nest, Insteon and Wink. These are the only five options available at the moment. I was able to sign in to my Hue account, but Cortana kept pulling up Wikipedia search results when I asked her to turn on my lights. That failure to communicate with Hue is something we've noticed before, so you might have better luck with the other four services.
According to Windows Central, the Connected Home feature is also available on Windows 10 Mobile, so you may be able to try it if you're one of the few people using a Windows phone. We've been expecting Cortana to get smart home integrations on the PC for awhile now, so this isn't the most surprising news. Still, Microsoft hasn't officially announced this update, and we've reached out for more information on when it will roll out to everyone and what services will be compatible.