It’s been years since the launch of Cortana and Windows 10, and it seems Microsoft is ready for a change. According to Windows Central’s Zac Bowden, the company will move its digital assistant out of the Start Menu and to the Action Center, alongside a major overhaul.
Part of that could be the rumored chat-based interface known as Conversational UI. Like Google Assistant, Cortana will apparently interact with users through text. The idea is to persuade users who don’t want to speak into thin air.
In terms of notifications, Bowden reports that user will be able to filter between Cortana’s cards and notifications, while quick settings will move to a dedicated control panel. We’ve already begun to see evidence of this in the latest Insider build, which brings some of Cortana’s cards to the Action Center.
Despite this, she will still power Windows Search. Users shouldn’t see a change in results the returned, it’s just that Cortana won’t be visibly involved. She’ll act solely as an assistant, rather than trying to do many things at once. Instead, we’ll probably see the Spotlight-like search experience seen in Redstone 4 builds.
A Mixed Bag
The result could be a better experience for users, or it could be a more fractured one. With the digital assistant no longer in the start menu, it’s likely less will notice her.
However, it’s worth noting that all of Cortana’s previous functionality will work. ‘Hey Cortana,’ will still trigger her, so those that use voice control will notice little difference. Microsoft has decided that a chat-based interface will draw more users than it’ll push away, while making those who don’t like her happier.
A bigger question is how this will affect users without Cortana access. Only 13 countries currently support her, and it could become a problem if the Action Center moves in that direction. Windows Central believes this change won’t come until the end of the year, so Microsoft has plenty of time to work it out.