The Cortana beta app for Windows 10 has received an update that makes the assistant more serious. Windows Insiders on the Fast ring will notice that Microsoft has removed several features.
The team has temporarily cut jokes, Bing Instant Answers, assistant conversations, and timers. At the same time, it has added several new productivity skills that should be better suited to enterprises and students.
“While we’re honing our productivity skills, we’re temporarily removing a few Cortana skills that were previously released to Windows Insiders,” explained the Windows Insider Team in a blog post. “But don’t worry, we’re giving them a fresh coat of paint, and they’ll be coming back soon!”
Also gone from the app is Cortana support for ‘connect accounts’. As a result, work and personal accounts will now be two separate experiences. This could be a good or bad thing depending on how close your work and home life overlap.
New Cortana App Productivity Skills
As mentioned, the removals are made less harsh by the introduction of several new features. These cover email, calendar, Windows, and general functionality. Here are the full notes:
- “To give you an improved companion experience that’s more seamless with your workflows, we’ve undocked the app from the taskbar, so now you can move or re-size Cortana like any other app.
- We’ve made it easy for you to configure your default input to Cortana via Settings > Talk to Cortana, so now you can choose if you prefer typing or speaking.
- The improved email skill lets you use Cortana to create and query emails:
- “Send an email to <name> letting them know I’m running late”
- “Show me emails from <name>”
- The improved calendar skill lets you create and query meetings:
- “Set up a 1:1 with <name> at <time>”
- “What’s my next meeting?”
- “Join my meeting” (Note: This only works for Teams meetings at this time.)
- The improved Windows skill lets you use Cortana to open apps and adjust settings:
- “Open Paint 3D”
- “Change the brightness”
- We’ve made significant accessibility improvements, so Cortana is easier for everyone to use.”
As is typical, the new Cortana app is currently exclusive to U.S. users, but it should be coming to more languages and regions soon.