Cortana

Xbox One system update arrives with Cortana and more

Xbox One system update arrives with Cortana and more

If you've been eager to try out Cortana, Microsoft's digital voice assistant, on your Xbox One, the wait is finally over. The console's summer system update has started rolling out this weekend, and as has been promised for months, players will be able to use voice commands to navigate and use Xbox One features and settings. The update also introduces background music options and additional integration with Windows 10 desktop apps.

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Microsoft will make Cortana mandatory in Anniversary Update

Microsoft will make Cortana mandatory in Anniversary Update

Virtual personal assistants and chatbots are all the rage these days. But while some of them, like Siri, Alexa, or even Cortana, are interesting and at times even useful, they aren't exactly suited for all situations and all devices. And yet, that is the message that Microsoft is trying to get across by forcing Cortana on all Windows 10 users, whether they like to or not. Come August 2nd, when the Anniversary Update rolls out, users will no longer be able to disable Cortana like before, ensuring that she becomes the center of all your desktop, and online, searches.

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Xbox One will get its own Summer update with Cortana in tow

Xbox One will get its own Summer update with Cortana in tow

It isn't just Windows 10 that's getting a rather hefty update this summer. Perhaps in line with its push to market Windows 10 everywhere, including in the Xbox One, Microsoft is also preparing a major update to the console's operating system, bringing both long-awaited and perhaps some dreaded features as well. While the bulk of the changes revolve around gaming's more social aspects, the spotlight will probably be shown on Cortana's long overdue arrival on the Xbox One as well as the merging of the Windows and Xbox stores.

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Cortana arrives on Microsoft Band 2 for Android users

Cortana arrives on Microsoft Band 2 for Android users

Good news for Microsoft Band 2 owners who pair their wearable with an Android device: you're now getting one of the last big features that, until now, has been exclusive to Windows Phone. Microsoft has updated its Health app, in turn enabling Cortana on the Band 2 and allowing users to issue voice commands. This update makes the Band 2 work with Android in just about every single way it does with Microsoft's own Windows Phone platform.

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Cortana syncs notifications between Windows 10 and Android devices

Cortana syncs notifications between Windows 10 and Android devices

Android smartphone users like to get notifications from their smartphone in multiple places so they can always be aware of emails, texts, and other important information. Microsoft has announced that Cortana can now synchronize notifications between your Android smartphone and your Windows 10 PC. Notifications can also be synced between PCs and Windows 10 mobile smartphones.

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Windows 10 cuts Google Search and Chrome from Cortana

Windows 10 cuts Google Search and Chrome from Cortana

Cortona's web search abilities no longer include Google in a move Microsoft calls its "Personalized Search Experience in Windows 10." According to Ryan Gavin, Microsoft GM of Search and Cortana, "with Windows 10, we have invested in delivering comprehensive, end-to-end search capabilities that make Windows more personal, intuitive and helpful." It's become apparent that users who've put Google's Search into that mix are no longer welcome.

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Microsoft locks Cortana down to using Edge browser only

Microsoft locks Cortana down to using Edge browser only

Back in the early days of the Windows 10 upgrade rollout, Microsoft was put on the hot seat for silently changing previously configured user settings. Specifically for changing the default web browser to the new Microsoft Edge, even if the user previously had a different browser, like Chrome or Firefox, set in Windows 7 or 8. Now it seems that Microsoft will once again be unpopular for a somewhat related move. It is now locking down Cortana to only use Microsoft Edge and Bing, to the exclusion of other browsers and search engines, especially Google's.

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Cloud-based Windows 10 Action Center will also be on Android

Cloud-based Windows 10 Action Center will also be on Android

Microsoft has been teasing bits and pieces of what both Windows 10 users and developers can expect in the upcoming Anniversary Update, and one of them involves the often taken for granted notifications. Already a substantial improvement over the Windows 8 notification, the Action Center in Windows 10 is about to get a major facelift as well as functionality augmentations. In particular, cloud-based notifications will allow users to see and even dismiss notifications on any device. And yes, that does include Android as well.

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update in summer: Hello, Ink, Gaming, more Cortana

Windows 10 Anniversary Update in summer: Hello, Ink, Gaming, more Cortana

270 million. That's how many devices are now running Windows 10 already, according to Microsoft, at least. Considering the OS was launched just eight months ago, that might indeed be a world record, thanks to Microsoft rather aggressive, almost contentious, push. Unlike other Windows versions, however, Windows 10 isn't meant to be a completely finished product with minor "service pack" updates down the road. Instead, the "Windows as a Service" entails continuous updates, some of them quite major, during its lifetime. The Anniversary Update slated for summer this year is one such update and it will indeed be quite a big one.

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Skype Video Bots join Cortana as true live assistants

Skype Video Bots join Cortana as true live assistants

In the very near future, Skype users will be able to use Cortana to be more of an everyday assistant than it ever has been before. Cortona will be able to be spoken to and asked to schedule calendar appointments from within Skype. Cortona will work within Skype to provide you with links to subjects, bring up information cards, and - if you need it - Cortana will even send private messages to you so as to not interrupt the conversation you're currently in the middle of.

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Latest Windows 10 Mobile preview includes new Cortana, Edge features

Latest Windows 10 Mobile preview includes new Cortana, Edge features

Members of Microsoft's Windows Insider program received a new beta of Windows 10 Mobile on Friday, just a day after a similar preview build hit Windows 10 PCs. Labelled build 14267, the new mobile version preview includes many of the same features introduced for PC users, namely improvements to digital assistant Cortana and the Edge browser. Microsoft is still promising a Q1 release for Windows 10 Mobile, so it's nice to see things are progressing.

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Harman and Microsoft are bringing Office to your car’s infotainment system

Harman and Microsoft are bringing Office to your car’s infotainment system

One of the clearest trends at CES 2016 so far is that vehicle infotainment systems are the "new big thing," and because they are basically OS platforms for cars, it's time they run Microsoft Office. That may sound like a joke, but it's what Harman is actually working on, with help from Microsoft. Harman's vision is to allow drivers to use the Cortana voice assistant to do things like schedule meetings, join conference calls, and respond to emails.

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