Items tagged with Cortana

Digital assistants have become a part of everyday life for many people and are supposed to make interactions with technology easier and seamless. Unfortunately, they can also be used against us in some situations. Underscoring this point, McAfee discovered a vulnerability in Cortana that could allow an attacker to snoop file names, execute malicious code, and even break into a locked Windows 10 PC. Fortunately, there is a patch available. McAfee wrote about the exploit in a lengthy blog post, describing how one of Cortana's features can be used against it. Microsoft is always making improvements... Read more...
Last year, Microsoft and Amazon announced that their respective AI voice assistants -- Cortana and Alexa -- would be joining forces to combine the best of both ecosystems on Windows 10. This week at Build 2018, Microsoft demonstrated how the pairing with work in the real world, and it isn't as complex as you might expect when combining two competing platforms. In a demo that was conducted by Megan Saunders, GM for Cortana, and Tom Taylor, SVP for Alexa, a Windows 10 PC was configured to "talk" with an Amazon Echo. Saunders was able to speak the command "Open Cortana" to the Echo, after... Read more...
Your mama, and now Microsoft, wants you to watch your mouth. Microsoft "may stop providing Services" or "close your Microsoft account" if you "publicly display or use the Services to share inappropriate content or material". "Offensive language" was listed as potentially inappropriate content. The new services agreement was posted this month and will go into effect Tuesday, May 1st for U.S. users.  The service agreement applies to a number of Microsoft services such as Bing, Cortana MSN.com, Office, Skype, and Xbox Live. If one's Microsoft services are cancelled, either by themselves or by... Read more...
Microsoft is now talking up a new feature called "Cortana Show Me”, which the company says is the perfect feature for people who have ever wanted to change a setting but didn’t know how to do it. Cortana Show Me is the guide to Windows 10 settings and can be downloaded via the Microsoft Store using this link. This is a preview app and Cortana will show you step-by-step how to change certain settings. Microsoft wrote, "In this release, you can launch guides directly from the app homepage, but check back soon for voice entry points. For Insiders, the app is available in English (US and... Read more...
Javier Soltero was the head of the Office team at Microsoft but he has since vacated that position, and is now the head of a new team in Redmond. Soltero is reportedly now the corporate VP over Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana. Soltero has a big job ahead of him, as Cortana is the underdog in the fight against industry leader Alexa from Amazon and the Google Assistant. The reason that Cortana has been relegated to third fiddle has to do with the fact that it’s not used outside of Microsoft hardware and software. Cortana is found on all Windows 10 machines, the Xbox platform... Read more...
There are plenty of smart thermostats on the market today with the devices from Nest being the most popular. Microsoft has announced that JCI (Johnson Controls) has launched a new smart thermostat called GLAS that uses Windows 10 IoT Core as the operating system and integrates Cortana. Smart thermostats in general are aimed at helping users save money on heating and cooling bills by giving more control over how energy is used and at what time. Microsoft notes that 40% of the energy use in a commercial building or home is due to heating and cooling. GLAS is a very slick looking thermostat with a... Read more...
Microsoft has announced new tech that is available in your chat window that leverages the Cortana intelligent digital assistant. Cortana is available in Skype and is designed to help you with details to support the conversations you have every day.  This means if you ask someone to go to the movies with you, it will give you access to movie times. If someone asks you to remember to do something, Cortana will offer to set a reminder on your phone. Cortana can also suggest smart replies so you can respond to messages faster and more easily, without having to type. The reminders that Cortana... Read more...
Amazon and Microsoft have decided to work together in the AI voice assistant arena rather than erect barriers between one another. In a move that will ultimately benefit customers, Alexa and Cortana will be able to communicate with Cortana and vice versa. What that means is customers with Echo devices can say, "Alexa, open Cortana," while owners of Windows 10 devices can say, "Cortana, open Alexa." You do not always see this kind of cross-platform cooperation between companies. Case in point, we reported last week that Microsoft has left the ball in Sony's court in terms of cross-platform play... Read more...
Microsoft is already dealing with the fallout from Consumer Reports’ decision to pull its recommendation of Surface PCs due to reliability issues, and now a former executive is spilling the beans on turmoil within the company’s Cortana team. Qi Lu, a leading AI researcher, headed up Microsoft’s applications and services unit before abandoning ship earlier this year to work at Chinese tech powerhouse Baidu. In a recent interview, Lu explains that Microsoft at first didn’t really take Amazon seriously, contending that Alexa technology was far behind what Cortana was capable of achieving. “Google... Read more...
Microsoft is making a move into the smart thermostat category, a sector that is currently led by solutions like Nest and Ecobee, though it is not jumping in alone. The Redmond outfit has teamed up with thermostat maker Johnson Controls to build GLAS, Microsoft's first smart thermostat. It features Cortana integration and is powered by the Windows 10 IoT Core operating system and Azure Cloud computing services. The combination of Cortana, Windows 10 IoT Core, and Azure Cloud gives GLAS some unique functionality, such as being able to detect when you're in a room and then adjust the temperature based... Read more...
When Microsoft decided to embed its Cortana digital assistant into Windows 10, the original plan was to keep it out-of-the-way, nestled in the system tray. However, before the OS' release, the Redmond giant decided to push it to the taskbar, to the right of the Start menu, which was done to encourage discovery. At this point, many know what Cortana is, so it appears Microsoft is planning to give the talkative assistant a notice of eviction from its current residence and court it with a good rate in system tray city. Because Microsoft originally chose to put Cortana close to the Start menu,... Read more...
Have you been itching to get your hands on the Cortana Skills Kit? Microsoft just announced at Build 2017 in Seattle, Washington that the Cortana Skills Kit will now be available for public preview. The kit had originally only been available for select developers. According to Microsoft, Cortana is “the world’s most personal and extensible digital assistant—now easier than ever to integrate with your solutions.” Cortana uses natural language processing, therefore, developers do not need to code every variation. Cortana proactively suggests skills to each user and offers an unique experience based... Read more...
Amazon and Google are duking it out in the smart home speaker market, the former with its Alexa-enabled Echo products and the latter with its Google Home device, but this is not a two-horse race. As the market grows, so does the competition. Harman Kardon has taken notice and is partnering with Microsoft to offer a smart speaker of its own, one that is powered by Cortana. According to a new teaser page on Harman Kardon's website, it will introduce its Invoke smart speaker powered by Cortana sometime this fall. The voice-controller speaker will work similarly to the competition, allowing users to... Read more...
Most of us could probably stand to be a little bit more organized, whether it's remembering to pick up milk on the way home or making sure not to miss little Katie's recital right after turning in those blueprints to the boss at noon. That is where digital assistants can be useful. Cortana is one of them and Microsoft is making its smarty pants AI even more helpful by having her hold you accountable to what you say in emails. "Cortana already gives you reminders for people, places and times, and helps you make and manage to-do lists so you don’t forget a thing. Now, Cortana can help you remember... Read more...
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