Cortana, Microsoft

Microsoft has been hard at work, delivering updates and major new features to all on the Windows 10 platform, including their personal assistant Cortana. But yesterday, the Redmond giant announced that the search results displayed by Cortana will exclusively be delivered via Bing and their default browser, Edge.

Microsoft is pushing forward with this idea to disregard the use of other third-party browsers and search engines(ahem, Google) to display Cortana search results, as the company believes that,

The result is a compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable. The continuity of these types of task completion scenarios is disrupted if Cortana can’t depend on Bing as the search provider and Microsoft Edge as the browser.

To be clear about the facts, this small change is being implemented on the server-side by Microsoft and will only affect the dedicated Cortana search box, that is available to you on the taskbar. This will make no change to your default browser setting for your system, and nor will it change your favorite browsers default search engine. Cortana integration was introduced during the Windows 10 launch last year, and has been making your everyday tasks easier, by taking reminders, notes, playing music, searching the web, and much more.

But the question arises, Is this change implemented by Microsoft absolutely necessary or not?

Microsoft data might suggest that people who have somehow figured out a way to circumvent the system and search using other third party search engines and browsers, might be driving a lot of traffic away from Bing and disregarding their new and improved offering, Edge, released in place of the infamous Internet Explorer. The General Manger of Cortana and Search, Ryan Gavin in his statement says that,

The only way we[Microsoft] can confidently deliver this personalized, end-to-end search experience is through the integration of Cortana, Microsoft Edge and Bing – all designed to do more for you.

So, this means that Microsoft can efficiently deliver the best top-of-the-class experience via Cortana, by clubbing the three apps to work together, which seems like a plausible proposition. Cortana is now almost like a UWP app which is integrated in all of Windows Operating System offerings and has been working in enhancing user experience via speech, now even on the lock screen in the latest Insider Build.

In the official blogpost, Ryan also boast about Cortana’s capabilities to adapt, learn and provide you with the best options to choose from, eventually helping you save time and money. You can now use Cortana to:

  • Search for “Pizza Hut” in the Cortana search bar and, once you’re on the Pizza Hut website in Microsoft Edge, Cortana can show you your closest locations to visit and enjoy hot and steaming pizzas.
  • Search for “Bluetooth not working” in the Cortana box and Bing gives you a GIF result, that will help answer only available on Windows 10 as a Bing search result.
  • Shopping for a new black dress in Microsoft Edge, do an image search in Bing and then right click a dress to Ask Cortana to get you more information on it, and the Cortana integration will display the price and availability of the dress online.(and I’ve tried this option once, and it works flawlessly)
  • Search for “Best Buy” in the Cortana box, click through on the top web result to, and Cortana will offer up coupons to save you money.
  • The list of search capabilities is endless, goes on and on.

Microsoft also says that this might be a big change for some, but an important one for them. The end-to-end personal search experience, as Microsoft defines it will only improve in the future and help you in more scenarios than you can even think of, like searching “get tickets to Rihanna show”, “catch me up on the election” and more, with the help of Bing and Edge combined.

In the end, this might be a power-move from Microsoft to bolster their own search engine, Bing, but not a wrong one if you consider all the odds, and its declining market share. Windows 10 might be Microsoft’s only glimmer of sunshine in the dark cloudy sky, so lets wait it out and see what’s in store for future updates.

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