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Move Over Cortana: Google Assistant Is Now On Xbox One

On September 26th, Microsoft announced that they would be bringing the Google Assistant to the Xbox One, Microsoft's flagship gaming console. It's not the first time the two tech mainstays have worked together; in fact, it's not even the first time Xbox has allowed another voice assistant on their console.

Microsoft’s voice assistant, Cortana, originating from the Halo video game series, was first released in 2014 on the Windows desktop and phone platforms. While it made headlines at the time, Cortana hasn’t quite taken off like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant within the smart speaker category. In fact, Harman Kardon’s Invoke is the only Cortana-enabled smart speaker available on the market. 

In September 2018, Microsoft announced to the world that it was adding support for Amazon Alexa to the Xbox One. Exactly one year later, Google Assistant has joined Xbox One and brings a host of new commands and functions. 

How It Works

Google Assistant on Xbox One works by adding your Xbox as a peripheral device for your Google Account, similar to how smart lights, locks, and cameras can be controlled with the Google Assistant and the Google Home app. You cannot, however, directly control your Xbox One with Google Assistant.

This means that without some kind of device with the Google Assistant already installed (such as your Android phone or a Google Assistant-enabled smart speaker), your Xbox One won’t be controllable with Google Assistant. 

Can You Switch Between Voice Assistants On Xbox One?

All three Xbox-compatible voice assistants (Cortana, Alexa, and Google Assistant) on your Xbox are usable at the same time. Cortana is built into the Xbox One, so you should be able to enable it just by digging around in your Xbox’s settings. Alexa works similarly to Google Assistant in that you need an external Alexa-enabled device in order for the assistant to work with Xbox.

Say you have an Android phone, Amazon Echo device, and Xbox One with Cortana enabled. You can use whichever assistant you like by using their corresponding command (“Hey Alexa,”; “Ok Google,”). While many users will find this redundant, others can benefit greatly from the extra options. For one thing, Cortana is only available in a few select countries, so adding Alexa and Google Assistant can provide these Xbox owners with an alternative AI assistant.

How To Use Google Assistant With Xbox One

To use Google Assistant with Xbox One, you’ll need a Google Account, a Google Assistant capable device linked to that Google Account, the Google Home app (also tied to the same Google Account), and a Microsoft account tied to your Xbox One.

  1. First, join this Google Group created by Microsoft using your Google Account. 
  2. Next, sign in to your Xbox and open the Google Home app on your phone. 
  3. Tap “+”, “Set up device”, “Have something already set up”, and finally “[beta] Xbox”. 
  4. Finally, sign in to the Microsoft account linked to your Xbox account, and you’re done!

Restart your Xbox and you should be able to control it using your Google Assistant on your smartphone or Google Home. A simple way to test if you’ve been successful is by saying, “Ok Google, turn on/off my Xbox,” into your Google Home or phone.

Adding the Google Assistant to Xbox is a nice move by Microsoft and yet another example of how the company is opening up their hardware to other tech companies. From opening up the Xbox to cross-platform support with Nintendo Switch to announcing a collaboration with Google on their next phone, Microsoft is taking advantage of the other players in the tech market and creating a more flexible, consumer-oriented line of products.

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