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Cyanogen launches Cortana for OnePlus users in India

Cyanogen has started rolling out features from Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant for users running Cyanogen OS 13.1 on OnePlus One in India, reports NDTV. The company mentions that the ‘Cortana India update’ will start rolling out automatically when on WiFi.

Note that Microsoft had launched an update to Windows 10 in November last year, which made available its digital personal assistant Cortana in India, Canada, Japan and Australia. In India, Cortana has been designed to work with apps such as BookMyShow. The voice assistant also recognises Indian festivals and customs, reminds the user of upcoming events and reschedule meetings.

Users will be able to use Cortana for things like turning WiFi on and off, setting an alarm, searching etc. Cortana is more closely integrated in Cyanogen OS than in vanilla Android, and hence can carry out more integrated commands like toggling WiFi. Other than this, new features include a new Cortana mod for Camera and Lock Screen, which enables users to use voice commands to take selfies or start searching from the lock screen itself.

In May last year, Microsoft also announced the availability of an app bundle called Phone Companion for the PC, which would let Windows 10 users install Cortana on Android and iOS devices. The bundle includes support for OneDrive, Office 365, Skype, OneNote and the Music app with Outlook. Changes made to Cortana’s Notebook are visible across all devices.

Cortana works across PC and phone, and is also integrated into Microsoft’s new browser Microsoft Edge, which replaces Internet Explorer.

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Digital assistants in the space:

– In October 2015, Apple acquired Perceptio, a stealth mode UK based startup which developed tech to lets companies run artificial intelligence systems on smartphones without sharing much user data. In June it announced an update to iOS 9.0 as part of which, Siri would be able to source all the data from the user’s phone, including app data and user contacts, to make voice search better.

– In August, Facebook announced that it was testing a new personal assistant service called M, powered by artificial intelligence and supervised by humans. The company claimed that the assistant would be able to purchase items, get gifts delivered, book restaurants and travel arrangements, set appointments etc.

– In June last year, Google added a new feature to Google Now called Location Aware Search, that detected a user’s location and answered questions based on that data. In April, Google Now started displaying cards from apps like RunKeeper, Jawbone, Feedly and 67 other apps, after it started adding third party Android apps to Google Now cards in January.

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