Microsoft's Cortana coming to Google, Apple devices

Microsoft's Cortana virtual assistant will be released later this year for users of Google and Apple smartphones.

The Seattle-area company announced the move on Tuesday, saying that Cortana is coming to other platforms alongside other new apps designed to let Windows 10 to link the files on their iPhone or Google smartphone to their Windows PC. Microsoft's aim with the Windows 10 operating system, set for release later this year, is in part to grab more attention on smartphones amid anemic market share for its own Windows Phone operating system.

Cortana, released for Windows Phone last year, is a voice-activated application that's part search engine, part scheduling assistant and application manager. Microsoft bills the app as a way to give people information they need when they need it. Google's Now service and Apple's Siri perform similar functions. Cortana has until now been available only on Windows Phone, though Microsoft announced in January that the application would be integrated into Windows 10.

Cortana won't have all of its features on the other platforms because Google and Apple don't offer third-party app makers like Microsoft the necessary system access, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore said in a blog post.

In addition to Cortana, a new Phone Companion feature with Windows 10 will sync users' photos, documents and files stored in Microsoft's OneDrive Web-accessed storage, Belfiore said. An Xbox music app will be designed to perform the same function for users' music libraries.

"Regardless of the operating systems you choose across your devices, everything important to you should roam across the products you already own - including your phone," Belfiore said.

The Phone Companion will show up in a few weeks as an update to the preview version of Windows 10 currently in testing, Belfiore said. Cortana for Google's Android will be available at the end of June, with an Apple variant set for release later this year.

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