Digital assistants are everywhere these days—maybe you routinely summon Siri on your iPhone to set a reminder or ask for directions, or perhaps you call on Alexa to fire up your playlist on your Echo speaker (or tell jokes through Jimmy Fallon). What about Cortana? Microsoft is still fleshing out its own digital assistant, and it appears Cortana is learning a new trick—support for multiple users.
Where this makes the most sense is on the Xbox One, a game console at its core, but also a home entertainment hub. Microsoft has long promoted the Xbox as more than just a gaming machine—they're gateways to streaming video platforms like Netflix and Hulu, and can be used to browse the web, chat it up with family and friends on Skype, and so forth.
Here's where things get interesting. Some Xbox One owners report seeing a new option to train Cortana to recognize and respond to multiple people. That means more than one person can get personalized results for things like email, calendar, and reminders.
Apparently the same option is also showing up for some owners of Harman Kardon's Invoke smart speaker. Whether on the Xbox One or Invoke speaker, users who see the option can add five additional people for Cortana to recognize individually, for a total of six users.
While not exactly a game changer or anything like that, it's a wise move by Microsoft to flesh out Cortana's capabilities in such a manner. Once this rolls out to the public at large, a couple with kids could set up Cortana to be recognized by the entire family..
This is something Microsoft has been testing for the past couple of years, and while it's still not widely available, we imagine it won't be long before it rolls out to everyone.