Microsoft has quietly added a new and helpful feature to its Cortana digital assistant on Windows 10 for PC and Mobile. Specifically, a new “Connected Home” option is now available from the Cortana Notebook settings menu, which allows users to control a number of smart home devices from various companies via their voice.
As first reported by Windows Central, the new Connected Home section supports Alphabet’s Nest devices, along with products that support Samsung’s SmartThings platform. It also can control devices from Wink, Insteon, and Hue. Once support for these products is enabled in the settings menu, you can use your Windows 10 PC or Mobile device to control a Nest thermostat, a Hue connected light bulb or a camera that uses SmartThings.
It’s currently unknown if this new feature will make its way to Microsoft’s Cortana apps on Android and iOS. One of the reasons why the Connected Home feature might have been added now is that Microsoft may be preparing for the release of the previously announced Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker, which uses Cortana as its digital assistant. It’s likely that its appearance means that the speaker, designed to be a competitor to Amazon’s Echo devices and Google Home, may be close to going on sale.