A virtual personal assistant, named Cortana, has become one of the most popular features of the Windows 10 operating system. Cortana works as an integrated part of the Windows 10 search function and also works well with other features, making Windows 10 devices easier and more manageable through intelligent voice and keyboard integration.
Named for the helper from the Microsoft’s popular Halo series of games, Cortana brings the latest in virtual assistant technologies to every Windows 10 compatible device. Although Cortana’s natural voice command features might attract the most attention from the tech community, the assistant also works silently through a keyboard interface and device display. As a relatively new product, Microsoft promises that Cortana will have increasing capabilities as time passes.
Despite the advanced state of technology our society enjoys, many people still have skeptics about the viability of virtual personal assistants (VPAs). People hold archaic views of VPAs, thinking they have limited abilities, abstract interfaces, and steep learning curves. This article will highlight the capabilities of Cortana and explain how the VPA works. Afterward, you probably will want to try Cortana for yourself.
How Cortana Operates
With the recent Windows 10 Update, Microsoft has implemented changes to the taskbar, placing the search box next to the Start menu, where everyone can easily access it. Although Cortana works with many aspects of Windows, its integration with Search might give users the simplest way to experience it. As Windows guides you through the Windows Setup procedure, it guides you through Cortana’s most popular features. Additionally, you will need to give Cortana access to information such as your contacts, emails, and search history. If you don’t allow Cortana to access your data, you probably won’t get the complete Cortana experience.
You have three available methods for activating Cortana from within Windows 10. First, you can speak “Hey Cortana” to enable the VPA interface. Before doing this, however, you need to enable that feature in Cortana’s settings. You can also activate Cortana by clicking the microphone icon in the Windows taskbar and then speaking your command. Finally, you can begin typing text into the Windows search box to access Cortana’s features.
The range of Cortana’s skills will continue growing as Microsoft continues development and learns more about how people want to use the virtual assistant. Right now, it can perform many functions that can simplify the way you use Windows. For example, you can use Cortana to search for files on your computer, on the Web or in the cloud. By default, Cortana searches for files on Microsoft OneDrive, but it can also search Google Drive and Dropbox files, as long as your PC configuration mirrors those cloud drives.
Cortana can also open and close programs and minimize and maximize application windows. You can also use Cortana to send emails to your contacts using voice command. You can send emails to other people by using a combination of voice commands and typing. Also, like any good personal assistant, Cortana will help you set reminders, alarms, and appointments. Other calendar functions include adjusting meeting times and sending updates. Cortana can also compute math problems and calculate conversions between different measurements and currencies.
You can stay updated with weather information, get directions, and get answers to questions by talking to Cortana. You can even have fun with Cortana by asking making interesting inquiries, such as “What’s the meaning of life?”, and “How do I look today?” Cortana will even sing a song for you if you ask.
How Cortana Learns
Cortana’s ability to learn about you makes it especially useful. Cortana develops its capacity by using information gleaned from your email and social accounts as well as information gleaned from asking you questions, Cortana stores your preferences and can predict what information you need and when you need it. Cortana’s notebook saves your preferences and makes them available to all your Windows 10 devices via your Microsoft account. To speed Cortana’s learning, you can enter your preferences and other information about you directly into the notebook. If multiple people use your computer, each one of them will have their Cortana notebook, so they will each have a Cortana experienced personalized for them.
Despite all the benefits Cortana offers Windows 10 users, you should understand a few shortcomings of the VPA. First, when accessing the Internet, users cannot set their target Web browser and search engine. Cortana users need to use the Edge browser and the Bing search engine unless they want to use the Chrome browser with a unique extension called Chrometana that partially resolves compatibility issues. You might have noticed a pattern: Cortana works best with Microsoft services. Still, you can configure Cortana to sync with Google services.
Some Windows 10 users might have trouble using Cortana because the VPA does not support all regions and language settings. Desktop Cortana cannot access some features present in the Mobile version of Cortana, such as dialing numbers and sending text messages.
When Cortana doesn’t understand a command, it opens the Edge browser by default, a practice that could annoy users, especially if they prefer to use a different browser.
Some Windows users might struggle with regarding Cortana as part of their Windows 10 experience and might not use the VPA much at first. Cortana has already received accolades as one of the best VPAs on the market. Many analysts have rated Cortana above Google Now and Apple Siri. In most settings, the advantages of Cortana outweigh its disadvantages, making it valuable to Windows users. Besides, Microsoft has already resolved many issues that have limited Cortana, and the company promises additional improvements. Try Cortana today and learn all the things a VPA can do for you.
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