Cortana

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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Siri and Google Assistant lead the market amidst privacy concerns

Siri and Google Assistant lead the market amidst privacy concerns

In the battle of AI assistants, you might think that Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant has the lion's share of the market considering their pervasive presence in devices. Only one of that is correct, however, with Alexa taking just third place. Two surveys conducted by Microsoft reveal that Siri and Google Assistant are actually tied at the top. More interesting, however, are consumers' rather conflicted feelings about using these assistants when it comes to their privacy.

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Microsoft Surface Buds could see Cortana challenge AirPods

Microsoft Surface Buds could see Cortana challenge AirPods

Microsoft is reportedly preparing to take on Apple's AirPods with some smart wireless earbuds of its own, joining the line-up alongside the Surface Headphones. If the earbuds make it to market, it would mean further validation for the audio-focused wearable space, where virtual assistants communicate via voice interactions rather than showing data with displays.

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Cortana doesn’t need smart speakers to win insists Microsoft exec

Cortana doesn’t need smart speakers to win insists Microsoft exec

Microsoft isn't letting underwhelming interest in Cortana smart speakers sour it on the assistant technology, even if Amazon Echo and Google Home still get the lion's share of sales - and attention - in the connected home. The software giant still resists calls to develop its own smart speaker, instead relying on third-party hardware like the Harman Kardon Invoke to fill that niche.

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Cortana and the Windows 10 search bar are getting divorced

Cortana and the Windows 10 search bar are getting divorced

Cortana is getting separated from the Windows 10 search bar, with Microsoft's assistant getting a separate spot in the taskbar. The new functionality was released today in Windows 10 Build 18317 (19H1), the latest version of Microsoft's Insider Preview in the so-called Fast ring.

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