Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system has a range of new features but arguably the most interesting is Cortana – the Redmond company’s voice personal assistant – which has made its way from Windows Phone and Android to tablets and PCs.
With PC and Mac locked in a fierce battle over which is the better desktop OS, the addition of Cortana looks like a smart move by Microsoft, especially considering that OS X does not yet have Siri. What does Cortana on Windows 10 bring to the table and how does it differ to Android and Windows Phone? Let’s find out.
Like its mobile counterpart, Cortana on Windows 10 progressively learns as you use it and if you use the mobile apps with the same Microsoft account, its knowledge is spread across your devices. On Windows 10, Cortana can also be activated very easily using the “Hey, Cortana” command (like Windows Phone, but unlike Android) and from testing the feature, we’ve found that it’s surprisingly accurate on the Surface Pro 3.
Part of the setup process is to help Cortana learn more about you and just like Windows Phone and Android, the process certainly encompasses a lot of your interests. Each install of Cortana comes with a Notebook where the service learns about your favourite types of places to eat, your budget and your interest in films & TV, events, finance, transport, news, sports and weather.
Aside from the contextually aware information, which is built into Cortana’s start screen, the assistant can also look up your calendar and remind you when to leave for an event, display reminders and a lot more. Cortana is also location-aware, which means you can set a reminder to do something at home when you leave work and your PC will remind you to do this when it recognises you are at home.
One main use for Cortana is its ability to hold a natural conversation; rather than ask awkward questions in a specific manner, Cortana lets you ask a question in normal language and then displays the appropriate response. Better still, you can also ask it about general knowledge, weather, time, sports results, history, technology and pretty much anything on the internet. It’s worth noting that as its powered by Bing, responses may vary from Google Now and Siri but for the most part, Cortana is actually very clever.
On the Surface Pro 3 at least, the “Hey, Cortana” feature doesn’t have an adverse effect on your battery life and pretty much responds when you say the command. Cortana can also be a lot of fun if you’re in a cheeky mood, with questions like “Will you marry me?”, “What do you think of Siri?” and “Which is better, Android or Windows Phone” resulting in amusing responses.
Will you use Cortana on Windows 10? Not all the time but this is the essence of a personal assistant; you don’t need to use it all the time. Instead, it’s there when you need it and Cortana definitely delivers in this aspect. Have you been using Cortana on Windows 10, Android or Windows Phone? What do you think of it? Let us know your views in the comments below guys!