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Cortana on the PC: Can we talk?

Matt Hamblen | Feb. 5, 2015
Cortana, the Windows Phone voice-activated digital assistant, now works on desktops, laptops and tablets running the preview edition of Windows 10.

Despite all the praise Moorhead heaped on Windows 10 as a cross-platform product with greater security and other features, he said that Microsoft's introduction of Cortana for PCs and tablets is "going to be a marketing tool to get consumers excited as opposed to a reason to buy a Windows 10 computer because of Cortana."

Most users who have tried Google Now, Siri and Cortana on smartphones are "relatively disappointed," Moorhead added. It's relatively easy today to command a smartphone digital assistant to "call Mary Jane" or "give me directions to the nearest McDonald's." By contrast, it is almost impossible to get an answer to a request such as, "What's the newest scary movie at my favorite theater?"

Nonetheless, Moorhead has started using a preview version of Windows 10 on a laptop and found, in one example, that it quickly retrieved a Power Point file that he specifically named for Cortana to find.

Cortana still evolving, Microsoft says

Asked to comment on the concerns about the Windows 10 version of Cortana, a Microsoft spokeswoman said Cortana will evolve in future builds of Windows 10, without elaborating.

"We built Cortana on Windows in a way that allows us to continuously bring new, valuable experiences to our users. We started with what we knew worked with Cortana for Windows Phone and are evolving the experience in future builds of Windows 10," the spokeswoman said.

Cortana may not be everything that everybody wants yet, even Microsoft. But here's an easy bet: A lot more people will be talking to their computers and smartphones in five years and getting back some pretty smart answers.

 

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