Cortana comes to desktops in Windows 10: Key features of Microsoft's voice-assistant

Cortana will be a key feature of Microsoft's Windows 10, both on desktops and mobile. Here's all you need to know about this voice-assistant.

Voice assistants have been given a lot of importance by tech giants like Apple and Google, lately. Now Microsoft wants to ensure that it isn't late for the party, and has given Cortana a big push in Windows 10.

Microsoft's Joe Belfiore showcased Cortana at the Windows 10 event. The biggest highlight was Cortana will be coming to desktops as well. At the core, it is similar to what we saw in Windows Phone, but now Cortana is more skilled at natural language, handling your daily appointments and so on.

Where new features are concerned, first and foremost Cortana has been improved to search documents and can looked up specific Word files or Presentations. It also lets users search for contextual information. For instance, you can look for "photos from November." It can also go beyond your computer and search for photos or docs from Microsoft's cloud service - OneDrive.

Needless to say, and just like some other voice assistants, Cortana learns its users' tastes and preferences. There's a new feature called Notebook that keeps a tab on all the saved information. It also keeps a track of the sports scores, travel, weather and such similar information that you may be interested in. It's in the Notebook, that you can add other things that you expect Cortana to keep a track.

As seen in some leaks earlier, Cortana is also coming to the Spartan browser. After all, Cortana integrated in the web search bar makes sense, given that Google has integrated voice-search in Chrome as well. Cortana will bring predictive search into the browser.

"Rather than force you to search all the way for something, Cortana can use its brain to predict what you're going to want. Type "weather," and it shows you the weather. Type "Delta" and your flight information pops right up," points out Gizmodo.

In case you are on a page of a hotel/restaurant, it instantly pops up the menu or Maps with directions. In the search bar, it also helps with generating autocomplete. Cortana also takes dictation. Yes, you can simply dictate an email, now. You can also ask it to play music.

In fact during the presentation, Microsoft' Joe Belfiore showcased a lot of demos with Cortana, and had a proper conversation with the search assistant, where he also showcased Cortana’s ability to put search requests into context based on the user. Cortana now supports 7 languages and can speak in impersonations as well.

Cortana in Windows 10 and desktop seems just the right move as Windows 10 is expected to bring a seamless experience across all Microsoft devices. Given that voice-assistant are being seen as the future of search, Microsoft's move to bring Cortana to desktops makes perfect sense.

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