The ubiquitous, decades-old Windows Start bar has just gained a new addition: Windows Phone’s virtual voice assistant, Cortana.
If you’re a Windows Phone 8.1 user, chances are you’ll be familiar with Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Now. The Halo-named assistant has been able to offer everything from sports scores and train times to your calendar appointments and contact information, but as Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore pointed out at the company’s Windows 10 press event, in the move to the PC, she’s learnt about ‘PC things’.
Just as you would summon her on your smartphone, the ‘Hey, Cortana’ activation phrase will now let you pull up that little blue ring whilst you’re using a full-blown PC. Cortana’s Notebook will house all of the information you input, such as your favourite sports teams to important family and friends in your contacts list.
You’ll be able to ask her to call up PowerPoint presentations or search for files, such as pictures, from a specific time frame. If you prefer to type, Cortana will also recognise that if you search ‘Skype’, you’ll be presented with everything from the Windows Store Skype app to useful websites relating to the service’s workings.
Music playback is also a nice inclusion, letting you fire up your tunes from a desktop PC and even more importantly, pause them, all using voice. Whilst the playback function is nothing new, being able to pause music with your voice on a mobile device has been a much trickier process.
Voice dictation extends to the desktop experience too, as we saw Cortana compose an email, completely by voice.
Keep it locked to Recombu for more on Cortana’s jump to the PC in the coming days.