Failing to have hit the mark against competition from Google Assistant, Alexa or even Siri, Cortana wants to be more useful and central in the productivity experience under Windows 10. We now learn that Microsoft’s personal assistant will soon be capable to find files for us, using a simple voice request.
Recently accessible to Insider program members, through the recent Windows 10 Build 20270, available in preview, voice-activated file search for Cortana helps Microsoft make its personal assistant more useful. This new feature, rather complete and destined to improve over time through the magic of AI, should help improve productivity by going to find any document or file through a simple voice request, even partially formulated.
This “voice search” comes in addition to the features of Cortana that we are now accustomed to, such as searching the web, following a schedule, launching applications or reminders. More generally, it is part of a reframing of the personal assistant, now openly reoriented towards productivity.
When Cortana becomes (a little) more useful
As Microsoft points out in a blog post published on December 3, Cortana will be able to quickly find documents, even if the query is relatively vague. For example, Microsoft’s personal assistant will know what to find with a formula like “Hey Cortana, open the marketing folder“, Or when the user will be content to designate a file by the name of its author, with for example the request”Hey Cortana, lance le budget Excel d’Antony“. The opening of recent documents by this same type of command will also be available, as well as the search for documents by type.
We also learned that users running Windows 10 Enterprise, logged into Cortana using their credentials Azure Active Directory, will be able to launch voice searches in files saved on OneDrive For Business or SharePoint. The search will nevertheless always take into account the files saved locally, specifies TechRadar. Users connected using a “classic” Microsoft account will have to be content with a local search only, we learn.