Cortana could be renamed to Microsoft 365 Assistant, integrate with Teams

Last week, we heard that Cortana was getting many of its consumer-facing features stripped out, as Microsoft shifts the assistant's focus towards productivity. In line with that vision, Brad Sams of Petri has reported that Microsoft is now referring to Cortana as the Microsoft 365 Assistant internally, and that name could end up becoming official.

Cortana's current name comes from a character in the videogame franchise Halo, and seeing as the digital assistant has less and less to do with consumer-facing features as time goes on, it would make sense for that name to be left behind. At the same time, Cortana's feature set is mostly related to Microsoft 365 services now, so the new name would make perfect sense.

Brad Sams' report also mentions that Microsoft is working on new software features involving Cortana and the Surface Earbuds, which are currently expected in the spring. Microsoft is apparently planning to expand the "Play My Emails" feature for Outlook with support for reading calendar information and more. These features would be grouped into a "commute" banner since they're meant for times when you can't be looking at your phone.

Finally, Microsoft is also working on integrating Cortana more tightly with Teams, which would allow the assistant to, among other things, send files or create chats on the service. The company is testing a few different locations to serve as the access point for Cortana within the Teams app, with one of the options being the search bar at the top.

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