Items tagged with Cortana

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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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...
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