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Cortana explained: The rocky past and promising future of Microsoft’s digital assistant

Remember Cortana? Microsoft’s digital assistant that was supposed to go toe-to-toe with Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant — that was going to help you with many of your daily tasks; be built into smart speakers; help you control your smart home, play music, check the weather, news, and more?

Those days are long gone — so much so that if you say “Hey Cortana” to your Windows 11 computer you won’t get an answer, because the virtual assistant is turned off by default. Which might make you think Cortana is all but dead.

But it’s not. In fact, Microsoft has big plans for it — but very different ones from when the product was first released. The company has been uncharacteristically low-key about what it plans for Cortana’s future, so it might have fallen off your radar.

It hasn’t fallen off ours, though. We’ve done a fair amount of digging, talked to the head of Cortana development at Microsoft, and interviewed tech industry analysts for their opinions. What follows is an in-depth look at the past, present, and future of the digital assistant.

What is Cortana? A brief history

In a nutshell, Microsoft Cortana is an AI-powered virtual assistant that responds to voice commands. It’s available as an app in Windows 10 and 11 and works in conjunction with Microsoft 365 productivity software to help users accomplish business tasks.

But that’s not how it began. Designed to answer questions, perform simple tasks, and make recommendations in the mold of iOS’ Siri and Android’s Google Now, Cortana made its first appearance in 2014, not on desktops or laptops, but in version 8.1 of Microsoft’s ill-fated Windows Phone operating system.

Cortana explained: The rocky past and promising future of Microsoft’s digital assistant Source link Cortana explained: The rocky past and promising future of Microsoft’s digital assistant

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