Cortana is #2 in Top 12 Virtual Assistants
Last updated: October 11, 2017
Cortana is your personal assistant on your Windows computer. She's there to help make things easier for you and keep you up to date on the things that matter to you. Whether it’s to keep you looped in with your world or help you manage your everyday life, Cortana is there for you.
Positions in ratings
#2 in Top 12 Virtual Assistants
The best alternatives to Cortana are: Siri, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa
Latest news about Cortana
2020. Microsoft to sunset Cortana on iOS and Android in pivot to productivity-focused assistant
Microsoft will shut down Cortana on iOS, Android and Surface Headphones. The decision reflects Microsoft’s focus on business and enterprise technology over consumer offerings. Microsoft will focus on repurposing aspects of Cortana for its suite of productivity products Microsoft 365 rather than attempting to compete on consumer devices with leaders in the virtual assistant space, like Apple, Google, and Amazon. Cortana has fallen behind those competitors as Microsoft doubles down on enterprise technology.
2020. Microsoft’s Cortana drops consumer skills as it refocuses on business users
With the next version of Windows 10, coming this spring, Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant will lose a number of consumer skills around music and connected homes, as well as some third-party skills. As the company explained last year, it now mostly thinks of Cortana as a service for business users. The new Cortana is all about productivity, with deep integrations into Microsoft’s suite of Office tools, for example. In this context, consumer services are only a distraction, and Microsoft is leaving that market to the likes of Amazon and Google. For now, all of this only applies to English-speaking users in the U.S. Outside of the U.S., most of the productivity features will launch in the future.
2017. Cortana arrived in Skype
Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana has finally arrived in Skype, offering users in-context assistance during their chats, as well as the option to message Cortana directly to ask questions or get help with a number of other tasks. The idea to bring an A.I.-like helper to mobile messaging isn’t unique to Microsoft. Google’s Allo app is aided by Google Assistant, while Facebook Messenger has its own assistant, “M,” for example. Cortana can offer other input, like restaurant options, movie reviews, a good place to meet, a fact it knows the answer to, and more. Plus, the assistant can help with scheduling events and setting up reminders, which are then synced to your other devices where Cortana is enabled, like your Windows 10 PC.
2016. Microsoft redesigned Cortana for iPhone and Android
Virtual assistant Cortana is still not very popular on iOS and Android. So Microsoft decided to redesign it. With Cortana’s makeover, the more popular “quick actions,” as they’re called, have been given a more prominent position. While you still access them with a tap from the main screen, those things you do the most — like viewing your day, viewing or setting reminders, checking meetings and reading the news — have moved to the front of the experience. The black-and-white theme is gone in favor of a very purple one. And, under the hood, Microsoft has made speed improvements so the app feels faster than before.
2015. Microsoft integrates Cortana into Power BI service
Microsoft announced that Cortana personal assistant is coming to Power BI, its business intelligence tool that, it’s worth noting, already had some natural language query capabilities. Once connected, Cortana can now answer questions from your Power BI data sets for written and spoken queries like “revenue for the last quarter” or draw you a chart for the “number of opportunities by team.” Users have to ensure that Cortana has access to their Power BI data sets by enabling this new feature in Power BI. With Cortana Analytics, Microsoft also currently offers a more bespoke solution for enterprises that focuses less on the Cortana client and more on the machine learning and automation services that power Cortana.
2015. Microsoft released Cortana for Android
Microsoft released beta version of Cortana on Google Play. Cortana on Android has much of the same functionality as the Windows version of the assistant. You can use the app to set reminders, search the web and add items to your calendar. The Android app also comes with the same "notebook" feature, which lets you tweak Cortana's personalized recommendations for nearby restaurants, news alerts, weather updates, sports scored and other categories based on your previous habits and interests. There are, however, a few limitations to the Android app. You can't use Cortana to adjust your phone's settings, launch other apps or use the "Hey Cortana" command to initiate a query. But you can make the assistant feel a little more like a native part of Android by replacing the Google Now shortcut with Cortana when you long press on the home key.
2015. Parallels Desktop 11 brings Cortana to Mac
Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac brings Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant to the OS X desktop. You can run the virtual Windows10 in Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac and Cortana can pop up from the OS X dock when you say “Hey, Cortana.” You can use it in all the ways you normally use Cortana (news, weather, Web search) and to launch Mac apps. It also adds the new Windows Notification center to the Mac desktop — it sweeps in from the side of the screen, just like on Windows 10. Parallels Desktop 11 also brings Mac features to the virtualized Windows system, like Quick Look, which you access via the space bar. And if your MacBook has a Force Touch-supporting touchpad, you can use that to quickly access word definitions in Microsoft Word for Windows.
2015. Microsoft announced voice-enabled Big Data platform Cortana Analytics Suite
Microsoft announced Cortana Analytics Suite that includes Azure ML, the company’s cloud machine learning product, PowerBI, its data visualization tool and Azure Data Catalog, a service designed for sharing and surfacing data stores inside a company. It’s a service that associates data from multiple sources on-demand, using some of the analytics technology it had developed for Power BI to make everyday data queriable by voice and accessible through touch. As for Cortana, which is the Microsoft voice-driven personal assistant tool in Windows 10, it’s a small part of the solution, but Sirosh says Microsoft named the suite after it because it symbolizes the contextualized intelligence that the company hopes to deliver across the entire suite.
2015. Microsoft will bring Cortana to Android and iOS
Microsoft announced that both Android and iOS devices will be getting access to a companion app that gives them access to content from their Windows 10 PC from whatever device they choose – and Cortana is coming along for the ride, too. Cortana is also included in Windows 10 on the desktop and you’ll be able to set it up to work with both Android and iOS devices when the companion goes live, too. On Android, it’ll exist as a separate dedicated app (iOS support was only shown as ‘coming soon,’ but it may live inside the Windows 10 companion app instead of as a separate destination). On Android, Microsoft showed it providing weather forecast information, and setting a reminder, plus providing a follow-up alert for said reminder later on.