Items tagged with Cortana

While we're not yet ready to call the Windows 10 May 2019 Update (version 1903) as big a disaster as the October 2018 Update, it has been riddled with a number of mind-numbing bugs. One of the prominent bugs reared its ugly head late last month, and caused CPU usage to spike, and it was traced down to an issue with Cortana and SearchUI.exe. In response, Microsoft issued KB4515384 during Patch Tuesday on September 10th, which was supposed to fix the problem. Microsoft noted in the patch notes: Addresses an issue that causes high CPU usage from SearchUI.exe for a small number of users. This issue only occurs on devices that have disabled searching the web using Windows Desktop Search. Now, however,... Read more...
Microsoft continues to tweak and polish an upcoming major update to Windows 10 that is scheduled to roll out in the first half of next year. As such, the latest Windows Insider 20H1 preview build (18975) contains some new things to play with, including the ability to move the Cortana window around to anywhere on the screen. This is tied to a new Cortana experience coming to Windows 10. Around a month and a half ago, Microsoft began rolling out a new chat-based Cortana UI as a beta update to Windows Insiders. It supports most of the same features, such as Bing answers and Assistant conversations, and over time, Microsoft will add more the mix. Now with the latest preview build, that chat UI can... Read more...
Windows 10 1903 build 18362.329 (KB4512941) landed on the production ring as an optional update a short while ago. Some people who installed the optional update are now fighting a problem where their machine has spiked an abnormally high CPU resource consumption issue. The Windows 10 build was a cumulative update that fixed several issues that Windows 10 users had previously been experiencing, only to introduce this new, potentially more serious issue. Users have been reporting that once the update was installed, CPU usage increased dramatically even when the system was idle. The high usage reportedly comes from Cortana, specifically the SearchUI.exe process that can be found inside Task Manager.... Read more...
Over the last few weeks, there has been an increasing amount of concern over what Apple, Amazon, and Google are doing with the voice commands and conversations that their respective digital assistants hear and record. All of those companies have employees or contractors who listen to the transcripts of commands issued to the digital assistants to see if they answered correctly and to improve the service. It's easy to forget that Microsoft operates in this digital assistant space as well, and a new report claims that its workers are eavesdropping on Skype chats and Cortana interactions. Word of Microsoft's policy comes from a Microsoft contractor who was able to provide Motherboard recordings... Read more...
When Microsoft launched the Windows 10 May 2019 Update last month to the public, one of the big changes came with how the Cortana virtual assistant is presented to the user. Previously, Cortana and Search were fused together in the taskbar. However, the May 2019 Update separated the two so that they could be further developed independent of one another. Now, the latest move from Microsoft means even bigger changes for Cortana. A new Cortana app -- in beta form -- has been discovered in the Microsoft Store. With this further decoupling of Cortana, the general consensus is that Windows 10 might not even have Cortana installed by default. If users want access to the Cortana,... Read more...
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...
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