Microsoft made several interesting design and platform choices in the current year. However, its always-on internet-connected virtual assistant Cortana was notably missing. It turns out Microsoft has bigger plans for the virtual assistant. Apparently, Microsoft wants Cortana to be deeply integrated within Windows 10 OS and more specifically, within MS Outlook. Interestingly, the assimilation within the OS and email platform don’t appear invasive or intrusive. Microsoft appears to be imparting better functionality for the platforms through improved functionality.
A leaked video indicates just how well Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa voice assistants, can work with the company’s other mainstream products and services. Introduced way back in 2014, Microsoft had integrated Cortana deeply within Windows 10 only to scale it back. Many experts claimed Microsoft might just pull the plug and terminate the service. However, it now appears the company is reattempting to integrate Cortana within Windows 10 and Outlook. Interestingly, it appears Microsoft might not stop at the OS and email platforms.
Microsoft Readying Cortana For Enterprise Customers Instead Of Individual Consumers?
A leaked video, posted by a Microsoft Insider, whose Twitter handle is ‘Walking Cat’, shows several new functionalities that Cortana supposedly performs. The upcoming features, which could be experimental in nature, are quite fascinating as they reveal just how well Cortana can work with other platforms that Microsoft offers. Interestingly, the most notable aspect of the video is that it appears Microsoft is trying to target enterprise customers to use Cortana as their go-to personal assistant. This strategy is in stark contrast to previous attempts by the company. For several years, Microsoft pushed Cortana as a virtual assistant for the average Microsoft product user.
Cortana in 2019 pic.twitter.com/5rlfshgjxX
— WalkingCat (@h0x0d) October 31, 2019
The leaked video shows Cortana’s integration within the Outlook mobile app for iPhone. The assistant is seen reading conversations out loud, and receive commands via the user’s voice for actions such as “flag the conversation.” It appears Outlook on the web could get Cortana integration as well. The video briefly shows the assistant emailing users a daily briefing. Moreover, Cortana appears to be scheduling appointments straight from the web app.
On Windows OS, Cortana is seen with a fresh new look and better integration within MS Office. Users can set Cortana’s voice in the app to either the traditional Feminine voice or the alternative Masculine voice. Another interesting feature shown in the video is the ‘Scheduler’. Using the same, Cortana can apparently find a perfect time and date with the other person and email them the meeting details.
Cortana’s Pivot To Enterprise Marks A Milestone For Microsoft?
Virtual Assistants and dictation are two of the fastest-growing technologies. Common smartphone users are rapidly embracing these technologies. Google routinely urges millions of Android smartphone users to actively use its virtual assistant. Apple’s Siri is being used extensively by iPhone users. Meanwhile, Amazon’s Alexa is by far one of the most used and relied on virtual assistants.
Nah, we've been saying for the last year or two what their plans are. It's pulling out from consumer space and playing to its strengths e.g. productivity.
Also, didn't remove from Xbox, simply made it an equal option as Alexa/Google.https://t.co/QWVUP4USh1
— Daniel Rubino (@Daniel_Rubino) October 31, 2019
But amidst the rising competition, Microsoft’s Cortana hasn’t been adopted to the extent that the company had hoped. In fact, Cortana’s deep integration with Search on Windows 10 OS was frowned upon by several users. Microsoft acknowledged the same and separated Windows Search from Cortana. This step appears to have been appreciated by many, but that left Cortana’s future uncertain. The leaked video clearly indicates that Microsoft is not abandoning Cortana, and instead, has planned additional duties, responsibilities, and functionalities for the virtual assistant.
Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and even Apple’s Siri might not be able to work as well with MS Office, Outlook or even Windows 10 OS and apps. With Windows 10 OS usage rising steadily, and Windows 7 fast approaching its end of life support, Cortana could boost its usage gradually. Moreover, with better and seamless integration within popular Microsoft products and services, many consumers who once avoided Cortana could reaccept the same.