Microsoft’s major challenge following the invention of Cortana has been to deliver on its initial promise. With the launch of Office Assistant, what we see is one of the first major steps towards this end.
One of the defining battles of the last few years in the mobile space has been over voice assistants. Though the concept debuted with Siri on the iPhone 4S, various other assistants have risen since with some, like Google Now and Cortana, gaining special prominence.
The first major challenge presented by this new software was to figure out a means by which to ensure engagement with the wider population. As such, the first major drive was towards the notion of accessibility, allowing naturalized interactions and queries to take a more conversational tone. Now that this period has passed, there is another challenge that presents itself, one that is no less significant.
Though voice assistants are quite possibility the future of computing, their utility in the present is highly limited. Beyond launching apps, dictating messages and searching the web, these synthesized voices cannot do a great deal. Working on compatibility with various other apps is as such the next major priority, making the voice assistant a truly powerful tool for the end user.
“Work Assistant” allows Cortana to interact throughout the office app for Windows Phone with a great deal more fluidity than was possible before, selecting, editing and sending documents. This will eventually grow to encompass a great deal many more features, and spread throughout the office suite.
Once this end is achieved, Microsoft will have completed the next step in the evolution of its voice assistant into a fully-fledged feature that sells Windows products, much as it is attempting to do so with Bing. Whether it will be successful in this task is impossible to tell, however Redmond is making all of the right moves and noises.
How frequently do you use Cortana? Let us know in the comments below.Further reading: Cortana, Microsoft, Office, Windows Phone