Microsoft-developed digital assistant Cortana first showed up on Windows Phone 8.1 devices in the U.S. back in 2014. Although it was marketed as a personal assistant, it never quite gained traction among consumers, even after its launch on other platforms, including Windows 10, Android, and iOS.
It appears that Microsoft is well-aware of this fact, with a new report claiming that the company is "repositioning" Cortana as a productivity assistant rather than a personal one.
Zac Bowden of Windows Central says that Cortana is alive internally at Microsoft, but is being redesigned to provide a more refined user experience for consumers. This falls in line with a previous report claiming that the digital assistant is being moved to the Action Center, promoting a typing-based experience rather than a verbal one. This is being referred to as a "conversational canvas" by Microsoft, described below:
The conversational canvas is designed to be a continuous dialogue between the user and the system. Cortana will still be able to do common digital assistant tasks, including things like turning appliances on or off, ask it to define words, reminders, weather, and more, just like you already can today, except since it's a conversation view you have a thread. Because of this, you can scroll up and see what you and Cortana have said in the past, etc.
The report says that by doing this, Microsoft's main purpose is to integrate Cortana so seamlessly with Windows that users won't even notice that they're utilizing the capabilities of the digital assistant, allowing it to offer a more productive experience.
Furthermore, Cortana will interact with other Windows features such as Timeline in a much more meaningful way, by "cherry-picking" what is most relevant to the user. This additionally means that while Cortana will allow a more interactive experience to users, other Windows features won't be held hostage by the digital assistant's lack of availability in certain countries.
While Cortana will still be available in Windows Search, it will be used to offer more productivity-based suggestions rather than showing you the daily news and the weather. Furthermore, Cortana Skills will continue to function as before, but Microsoft apparently won't be pushing for the digital assistant on dedicated speakers like the Harmon Kardon Invoke.
All in all, it seems that Cortana certainly isn't going away anytime soon, however, Microsoft will be looking to reposition it to other areas of Windows where it can become a more productivity-focused assistant rather than a personal one that showcases emotions and tells jokes.
Source: Windows Central