Items tagged with Cortana

Most people have used natural language computing in one form or another. thanks to voice assistants out there from Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and others. The idea is that you can interact with your device just as if you were talking to a human. The most popular of these voice assistants is Amazon's Alexa and even Facebook is working on a voice assistant competitor as well. Voice assistants are here to stay and Microsoft wants to make them better. Systems available today can do things like make an appointment on your calendar, but they can't engage in a dialog back and forth with the user about how to handle multiple high-priority requests. Microsoft says that the next generation of intelligent... Read more...
Kenny Rogers famously sang about knowing when to hold your cards and knowing when to fold 'em (and run). Microsoft appears to be taking that lesson to heart in the digital assistant space, and rather than try to usurp Amazon's popular Alexa with its current set of cards, it has decided to play a different hand—going forward, Microsoft will focus on making Cortana available as a skill. Work on this has already begun. Cortana has been available as a skill since last year, and at Microsoft's Build 2018 conference, Microsoft demonstrated how Alexa and Cortana could work together in Windows 10 as part of a previously announced collaboration between Amazon and Microsoft. So, it's not really a... Read more...
Microsoft has started pushing out a new preview build of Windows 10 (build 18317) to Windows Insiders who are subscribed to the Fast ring, and with it comes a pretty big change. The latest preview build separates Search and Cortana in the taskbar so they can be developed independently. "Some Insiders have had this update for a few weeks now, and we appreciate all the feedback we’ve received about it so far! For those new to this update, when it rolls out to you, you’ll find clicking the search box in the taskbar now launches our experience focused on giving you the best in house search experience and clicking the Cortana icon will launch you straight into our voice-first digital assistant... Read more...
The October 2018 Update for Windows 10 may have gotten off to a rocky start, but that has not deterred Microsoft from forging ahead with its next major update, which is due out sometime in the first half of this year. As work progresses on its next major update, Microsoft has made available a new test build to Windows Insiders who are subscribed to the Fast ring, and with it comes a few interesting changes. For one, Microsoft has disabled Cortana's voice-over instructions during the installation phase, based on user feedback. This default setting applies to Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions—if you're performing a clean installation of Windows 10 Home, Cortana will still... Read more...
Loup Ventures has published the results of its Annual Smart Speaker IQ test where it took the four major Smart Speakers on the market that are packed with Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, and Cortana and put them through a round of tests. The test asked each of the four smart speakers 800 questions to see which of the devices was able to answer the most questions and then ranked the devices based on the percentage of understood queries, and the number of questions answered correctly. The results put Google Assistant at the top of the class. Google Assistant understood 100% of the aksed queries and was able to answer 87.9% of the questions correctly. Siri came in second place understanding 99.6%... Read more...
Over the last few years, many consumers have complained that Microsoft has focused primarily on businesses. The company abandoned products like the Windows Phone and Microsoft Band Fitness Trackers, and has instead labored on its business applications, data, and AI. Microsoft recently stated that it would be working harder to attract consumers. A few recent job listings have hinted that the company plans to fulfill that promise, and Microsoft will likely release a 365 Consumer Subscription. Microsoft has posted job listings for a Microsoft 365 Consumer Subscription product manager and senior product manager. The responsibilities for both positions include understanding the needs of consumers... Read more...
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... Read more...
Microsoft hasn't exactly had smooth sailing with regards to its most recent major update for Windows 10. The company launched the October 2018 Update early last month, which was fraught with problems including a file deletion bug. Microsoft quickly pulled the update and has yet to release a replacement. Despite this setback, Microsoft is continuing to work in parallel on the next major release of Windows 10 Build 19H1 (which stands for 2019, First Half). Microsoft has just fed a build to testers on this track: Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18277. This latest release brings with it a number of small changes, with one of the most important one being improvements... Read more...
This is shaping up to be a busy month for Microsoft. The company has started pushing out its October 2018 Update for Windows 10, and just the other day, it held an event to announce a spattering of Surface products, including the Surface Laptop 2, Surface Studio 2, and Surface Pro 6 with 8th generation Intel Core processors inside. That's not all, though. Microsoft is also releasing a set of Bluetooth headphones with Cortana integration. The new Surface Headphones appear to take aim at the premium headphone space, though we'll have to wait for Microsoft to announce pricing to know what it's going up against. What we do know, however, is that Microsoft is promising a "smarter way to listen" with... Read more...
It's been a year in the making, but Microsoft and Amazon have finally announced a full public preview rollout of Alexa-Cortana integration -- at least for users in the United States. The two companies first announced the collaboration in August 2017, and gave a live on-stage demo of the pairing in action at BUILD 2018. In practice, Alexa and Cortana will first have to be enabled as a skill on each competing platform. For example, the Cortana skill will have to be installed on an Amazon Echo, while the Alexa skill will have to be installed on a Windows 10 PC. From there, you have to do a small amount of verbal gymnastics to access the respective AI assistant platforms. On a... Read more...
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 to Cortana, and the latest version allows users to search for files and other content with voice commands,... 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 which it replied "Cortana, here. How can I help?" And with that, the Alexa is tied into Cortana where... 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 Microsoft, they will lose their licenses and other products they have acquired. They will no longer... 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 UK) and in German. We’ve created guides for 15 settings so far but stay tuned for further improvements... Read more...
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