For you guys like me that haven’t ever used a Windows Phone and are not aquainted with Cortana let me introduce you… She is Microsoft’s Voice Activated Personal Digital Assistant. Very similar to Google’s Voice Search or Apples Jiri. Powered by the Bing Search engine, when demonstrated the tool appeared slick and responsive. I am sure the demonstration was well rehearsed so the real test will be when we get access to Cortana in the next Technical Preview Release of Windows 10 in the next few weeks for Laptop/PC.
The image below shows Cortana running on a Windows 10 Mobile Phone along side a Windows 10 desktop to laptop device.
What impressed me greatly, not just about Cortana but all the Applications featured during the Webcast, was the way the apps adapt to the platform upon which they are running. You can see from the above screen shot Cortana running on a Phone and a Desktop. The interface is near identical therefore giving the user a common experience across devices. This is at the core of what Microsoft are trying to acheive with Windows 10. They are taking it one step further with the use of OneDrive, their storage in the cloud. Preferences and data can be stored on OneDrive and therefore follow you from device to device, therefore Cortana’s knowledge about you, also is accessible from which ever device you are using.
On the desktop you can also access Cortana from the task bar by typing in your search criteria. What’s neat is results returned are tailored to you and takes in what Cortana knows about you. For example if you asked Cortana on your phone to track a particualr flight, if you switch to your desktop and typed “flight” into the Cortana area of the task bar, the first returned result would include the specific flight number you asked Cortana to track. In summary, Cortana resides in the Cloud.
Trust was mentioned alot in the Microsoft presentation. This is obviously a major concern for some people, Microsoft have tried to be as transparent as possible with a look to impoving that trust so they have added a feature into Cortana to allow you to see everything she has learned about you…you can even remove peices of the Data she has learnt in error or you simply want her to forget. If only we had that ability with Carbon based lifeforms.