We’ve reported before at how Microsoft is removing Cortana from its core operating systems across both Windows 10 and Xbox. The reason for this though is not to minimise focus on Cortana, but rather give them a chance to enhance it more by making it a separate app that can be updated regularly, along with bringing it other platforms like Android and iOS.
We now have a glimpse of what that future for Cortana may look like as the company is testing a new chat-based UI for Cortana on Windows 10 PCs. The new beta app, which was originally spotted last month, is now available to testers, and it supports both text and voice queries, allowing for more ways to interact with Cortana. Although the app is now separate from the core OS, it still supports most existing features, including queries, assistant conversations, opening apps, managing lists, and basics like setting reminders, alarms, and timers.
According to Microsoft, they have also tweaked Cortana so that “Hey, Cortana” is less intrusive, and the assistant now supports both light and dark themes on Windows 10. Performance should also be “significantly improved,” thanks to new speech and language models.
The company is only planning on having their full new version of Cortana available in the first half of 2020 and see the next few releases as mere Beta versions as they get Cortana to a level they are satisfied with, as explained in a blog post by Dona Sarkar, Microsoft’s Windows Insider chief:
Not all the features from the previous Cortana experience are available just yet. As a Beta, we plan to add more features over time with updates to Cortana from the Microsoft Store.
Considering most people I know, including myself, only use Cortana because it is native to Windows, it will be interesting to see exactly how Microsoft lures people to this separate app and prove that its voice AI assistant is better than all the others.
Last Updated: July 30, 2019