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Microsoft announces new smart home partnerships for Cortana, along with IFTTT

Recently, Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant has been criticized for not working with enough third-party services. While Amazon's Alexa has tens of thousands of third-party Skills, Cortana's are still in the hundreds (the low hundreds). There hasn't been much third-party hardware either; while Google and Amazon are forging hardware partnerships across the board, there's only one Cortana speaker that's widely available - the Harman Kardon Invoke.

Smart home partnerships were limited as well, since Cortana only worked with Samsung SmartThings, Nest, Philips Hue, Wink, and Insteon. Microsoft announced new partnerships today, expanding its smart home offerings a bit. You'll now be able to use Cortana with "devices from ecobee, Honeywell Lyric, Honeywell Total Connect Comfort, LIFX, TP-Link Kasa, and Geeni."

But that's not all, because Cortana is finally getting IFTTT support. This is perhaps more significant, because IFTTT opens up the digital assistant to hundreds more services. For example, you can add items to a list on Trello, log your weight on Fitbit, post a tweet, and more.

You can also customize phrases that you use to do things. Instead of saying, "Hey Cortana, turn on the lights", you can change that to, "Let there be light". You can even set it so that one voice command performs multiple actions. For example, you might want to be able to say, "Hey Cortana, I'm home", and have that command turn on the lights as well as the heat.

All of these new features are available on Windows 10, Android, iOS, and the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker.

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