In a lengthy and revealing interview, Microsoft’s Eric Horvitz has indicated that the personal assistant Cortana will be making her way to iOS and Android in the future as a standalone app. As most Windows and Windows Phone users will know, Cortana is a part of Windows Phone today (Lumia Cyan and higher) while she will be coming to Windows 10 on the PC and tablet when it is released later this year. It is a surprise in some ways as this has been a differentiation point for Windows Phone in particular. But equally, with Microsoft pushing more and more to being the app company regardless of the device you use, it isn’t too shocking.
In the interview with Reuters, Horvitz states that the next generation of Cortana will play a central role in the user experience by being able to read and understand emails as an example. “This kind of technology, which can read and understand email, will play a central role in the next roll out of Cortana, which we are working on now for the fall time frame,” He stated. This next generation of Cortana is expected to be shipped in the Fall, likely tied to the release of Windows 10.
This move to putting Cortana on competitive devices is not overly surprising. Microsoft is rapidly positioning themselves as the company for apps and services, all of these powered by other Microsoft services such as Bing in the case of Cortana. Couple this with the machine learning that Microsoft is doing, the massive data centers they are building, the ever-expanding cloud services they offer through Azure and Microsoft is in a good position to pull it off. They are quietly becoming the infrastructure of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Specific to Cortana, Microsoft’s machine learning and search should allow it to become an “agent” according to the article and interview at Reuters.
Still, Microsoft believes its work on speech recognition, search and machine learning will let it transform its digital assistant into the first intelligent ‘agent’ which anticipates users needs. By comparison, Siri is advertised mostly as responding to requests. Google’s mobile app, which doesn’t have a name like Siri or Cortana, already offers some limited predictive information ‘cards’ based on what it thinks the user wants to know.
Interestingly, Siri on Apple devices leverages Bing in the background.
It is also another example of the one sided relationship that Microsoft has with Google. Microsoft clearly is pushing their services to other platforms willingly and some could argue to the detrement of their one platforms today (I’m talking about you Windows Phone). Google, on the other hand, seems to have very little interest in developing their services on Microsoft’s platforms which ultimately will hut the consumer more than anyone.
You can read the full article here.
What do you think of Cortana going to iOS and Android?