Cortana – great idea but times change

100% human

Cortana was one of the first voice assistants running on all Windows devices – about 90% of the world’s PCs and laptops.

But times change, and the leading voice assistant tools are now iOS/macOS Siri or Android’s Google Assistant. Cortana is not retiring but morphing into a new role – less Voice Assistant and more productivity assistant.

A company blog reveals Cortana will soon evolve into a productivity assistant for Microsoft Office 365 to help users interact with it. Cortana knows more about the inner-workings of Office 365 than other voice assistants ever could and will be tightly integrated for productivity and security.

As usual, Cortana will be open with what she hears, and you have total control over your data. But she will become more chat-based (a better-looking Clippy perhaps) accepting voice and keyboard input.

The changes will initially be in the US from its Spring (our Autumn).

Cortana will

Cortana will assist you in better managing your schedule and tasks by staying on top of your calendar and focusing on what matters with meeting insights. You can speak or type requests to find people or files, or quickly create or query emails. You can also easily check your calendar, set a reminder, or add to your lists in Microsoft To Do:

  • “What’s next on my calendar?”
  • “Remind me to send the ‘weekly report’ every Friday at 2 pm.”
  • “Add ‘status report’ to my task list.”
  • Continue to help you get answers from Bing, set alarms and timers, open apps, adjust settings, or give you a joke

At the expense of?

Cortana becomes the glue between other voice assistants to manipulate your PC. To use her you will need to be logged in to your MS account. Other assistants can now manage music or interface with ‘skills’.

For reasons unknown, Microsoft has promoted Alexa as its Cortana alternative. Fine in the US but not so in Australia where Amazon is not a household word.