Cortana

Windows 10 2004 update today: These key features added

Windows 10 2004 update today: These key features added

Today the folks at Microsoft responsible for updating Windows released Windows 10 version 2004, also known as Windows 10 May 2020 Update. This update should be downloaded immediately if you do not already have your computer set to download Windows updates immediately. This version of Windows 10 has a wide variety of bug fixes and performance upgrades, including all those fixes included in the previous cumulative updates to Windows 10, version 1909.

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Windows 10 ditches Cortana consumer skills in imminent update

Windows 10 ditches Cortana consumer skills in imminent update

Microsoft has announced an upcoming update to its Cortana personal assistant, one that will bring enhanced security and new capabilities, as well as the removal of consumer skills. The announcement will no doubt upset some users who will need to switch to the mobile version of the assistant for these skills. The changes will arrive in the Windows update scheduled for release this spring.

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Cortana on mobile is officially dead everywhere except in the US

Cortana on mobile is officially dead everywhere except in the US

Microsoft's Cortana was special to some extent. Of all the popular AI voice assistants, it was the only one with a face, based on a pre-existing character from the popular Halo franchise. Unfortunately, neither that nor Microsoft's technologies was enough to keep it from becoming almost irrelevant. While the company will still keep its own AI agent alive at least on Windows, it is officially though still informally declaring it dead on Android and iOS.

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Cortana for Android and iOS will disappear in multiple markets soon

Cortana for Android and iOS will disappear in multiple markets soon

Microsoft plans to stop supporting the Cortana mobile app in select markets starting in early 2020, the company quietly revealed on its support website. It's unclear how broadly the app will be removed -- based on Microsoft's message, it will happen in at least three countries. Microsoft's personal assistant will remain available on Windows 10, of course.

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Cortana Play My Emails for Outlook on iOS lands with masculine voice option

Cortana Play My Emails for Outlook on iOS lands with masculine voice option

Cortana is about to get a lot more chatty, with Microsoft launching a new Play My Emails feature for its assistant at Ignite 2019 today. The new Outlook mobile feature is joined by a new voice for Cortana, adding a masculine option to the existing feminine voice the assistant first debuted with.

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Windows 10 May 2020 will carry a better Cortana experience for more users

Windows 10 May 2020 will carry a better Cortana experience for more users

If you're looking for new Windows 10 features to get excited about, you might want to look past this year's second major update. Currently dubbed the 19H2 update based on when it's expected to roll out, the next Windows 10 feature release will be a more somber affair, focusing on polish and stability to address the growing number of complaints users have about the OS. That does also means that next year's first major release, a.k.a. Windows 10 20H1, might have more exciting news, including a new Cortana that isn't just more conversational but also more available to users.

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Humans will continue listening to some Cortana and Skype recordings

Humans will continue listening to some Cortana and Skype recordings

Last week, word surfaced that Microsoft, as with Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook before it, was using human contractors to listen to some Skype and Cortana audio clips. Though other big tech companies have paused these practices in light of consumer concerns, Microsoft has taken a different route, updating its privacy policy to explicitly state that people are listening.

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The sleek GLAS smart thermostat is losing Cortana

The sleek GLAS smart thermostat is losing Cortana

The GLAS smart thermostat was to be Cortana's big expansion in the connected home, but the stylish glass HVAC controller is losing Microsoft's assistant it has quietly warned owners. The unexpected news follows Johnson Controls adding Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant control support to its platform.

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Cortana app in Microsoft Store could help speed up updates

Cortana app in Microsoft Store could help speed up updates

Today seems to be a day for almost forgotten voice assistants. Samsung has just launched a Marketplace for Bixby Capsules, a.k.a. skills, suggesting there is indeed a market for that. Now Microsoft seems to be moving to decouple Cortana from its Windows 10 operating system. A beta version of a standalone Cortana app has appeared on the Microsoft Store and if the speculation is correct, this could actually help improve Cortana’s visibility and usefulness.

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Female voice assistants are sexist argues new UN report

Female voice assistants are sexist argues new UN report

Obsequious, coy, and above all female virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri, and the Google Assistant are a widespread example of sexism, a new UN report argues, blasting gender bias coded into tech products. The use of default female voices for digital assistants, and their programmed reactions to insults and inappropriate requests, could be contributing to a growing gender gap, it's suggested.

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Microsoft’s Conversation Transcription demo wows as new hardware revealed

Microsoft’s Conversation Transcription demo wows as new hardware revealed

Microsoft has figured out real-time conversation transcription, revealing a new Azure-integrated conical reference design speaker along with a way to turn every phone and laptop in a meeting into an ad-hoc voice recognition array. The Build 2019 demo highlighted how a combination of edge devices and cloud processing could better work in harmony, as well as potential improve future smart speakers that could understand multiple commands and do away with the wake-word.

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Microsoft reveals AI tech for virtual agents worth talking to

Microsoft reveals AI tech for virtual agents worth talking to

Chatting with Cortana and other virtual agents looks set to get a lot more useful, with Microsoft announcing a new breed of intelligent agent at Build 2019. The software behemoth showed off its latest conversational interface at the annual developer event, debuting a completely fresh way of training - and interacting with - assistant technologies.

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