The keynote for BUILD 2014 was all good news for the Windows platform. Especially for Windows Phone; with a major Windows Phone 8.1 update filling some crucial holes in the mobile operating system. Of all the new and upcoming, the most looked forward to feature was no doubt – Cortana.
Cortana on Windows Phone gives a completely new meaning to the search button. Personally, I haven’t been a huge fan of the integrated Bing search on Windows Phone. Not that it isn’t a great search engine, but Google has had the benefit of my preference for a long time and I have always felt comfortable that way. But with Cortana – the search button will find more meaning in the lives of Windows Phone users like me and help create a lot more activity on Bing.
Now it is upto Microsoft to exploit this meaning in new and better ways – and on more platforms. Before I make my point a few features discussed at the keynote.
- Universal Windows apps
Apps that can build to run on Windows Phone, Windows RT and Xbox.
- Windows and Internet of Things
Windows for every device that can connect to the Internet.
- Cortana API provider
APIs that help apps merge with the Cortana experience.
Cortana keeps a notebook to aggregate all the information she collects about her chief (user). She is designed to learn more about the user (location, social circles, etc.) and suggest the most relevant information. This also helps her become socially intelligent and understand where your contacts stand in your social life. Adapting to a single user’s individuality will help Cortana stay highly personalized for every user.
This makes it even more fascinating to see Cortana running as an integral part of the Windows ecosystem in the near future. The Natural Language Processing and ability to carry out actions in an app makes Cortana a lot more powerful.
If Microsoft plays it right and manages to converge the 3 points mentioned above, we could have multiple instances of Cortana running on devices hooked to the users identity. The possibilities can only be more and more engaging for users.
“Wouldn’t it be fun to tell Cortana on my phone to stream a movie from Netflix to my Xbox or Windows machine?”
The above use case might seem a little far-fetched to some, but can only be made possible with the Windows ecosystem being closely tied up. Of all platforms, I feel Microsoft has the right ground work laid to make this happen.
Moreover, if Windows for Internet of Things is done right; I’d like to see how Cortana can be linked. In short, if Microsoft steers this right, Cortana has the potential to bring Bing back in business and blow life into its Windows platform to create a more immerse experience for its users.
“Cortana, please turn off the lights. Good night!”