Windows Insiders are continuing to discover some unannounced new features in recent Windows 10 Insider builds. Some Windows Insiders are now testing a new header in the Settings app that includes shortcuts for Microsoft Rewards, Phone settings and more, but others are are seeing Cortana being separated from Windows Search today (via Thurrott.com)
Some testers previously found a way to separate the two using special software, but the change is now live for some Fast Ring Insiders running the latest build 18298.
@thurrott @bdsams @maryjofoley @TheRichWoods Looks like more A/B testing happening with 18298. 'Type here to search' and 'Talk to Cortana' separated on Taskbar. pic.twitter.com/iuAEd4tLvg
— Michael Reinders (@mdreinders) December 12, 2018
Just like the other test with the new header in the Settings app, it’s not clear if many Insiders will see this change. Microsoft has yet to confirm that it plans to separate Cortana from Windows Search in the upcoming 19H1 update for Windows 10, but it does make sense to de-emphasize the digital assistant. After all these years, Cortana is still only available in select markets, and it may well be better to make Windows Search stand on its own.
Cortana was the first digital assistant to ship on a desktop operating system, but the execution always left a lot to be desired. Now than Amazon’s Alexa is available in the Windows 10 Microsoft Store, Windows 10 users may soon be able to hide Cortana from the taskbar and replace it with their digital assistant of choice. However, this could just be some A/B testing and depending on Insider feedback, Microsoft may well keep Cortana in Windows Search. We’ll see what happens, but in the meantime let us know if you think separating the two would be a positive change in Windows 10.