In recent months Microsoft has been accused of getting tougher when it comes to Windows 10 with its automatic upgrades. Now it looks like more of the same as the latest update will have Cortana switched on all the time.
What is Cortana?
Cortana is the A.I. style virtual personal assistant that Microsoft added to many of its operating systems including Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows Phone 8, Xbox and Android. Cortana can set reminders, answer questions by using information from Bing Search, and recognise the user’s voice.
Can’t Turn It Off.
The change with the latest Windows 10 update simply means that the Cortana feature can’t be turned off. It is important to remember however that users have the power to instruct it not to be heard during normal computing anyway. The fact that it is always on and always at hand however could be regarded as being helpful.
Microsoft are quick to point out that although users get the best results from Cortana by signing in, if users choose not to sign in it will still be on and users will still be able to use the chat and conduct searches on the web and on their device. Users can also choose to hide Cortana in the taskbar if they wish.
By always being on Cortana will however be able to continuously collect metadata.
What Data Does It Collect?
In order for Cortana to act as a kind of intelligent personal assistant, it needs to collect personal data about you. As well as being a practical reality this aspect of Cortana has raised concerns among some users and commentators about privacy.
The sort of data that Cortana draws upon in order to be of maximum use is your browsing and search history, your location history and information, your voice search history and your contacts, your calendar, and your content and communication history.
In short, Cortana does access a lot of your personal information and data but there is a strong argument that it needs to do this in order to provide maximum benefit. The fact that it will now be switched on and gathering data all the time therefore looks likely to make it more powerful and therefore more useful.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Having Cortana switched on all the time will not feel like any major change on the surface but could make the feature more helpful and effective. Cortana does in fact offer businesses a very powerful tool to help save time and help with personal organisation as well as offering a convenient, handy and portable way to access all kinds of information without being tied to a keyboard.
For example, it can help you to quickly find your device resources e.g. OS settings or files, it can help you to find specific places within walking distance when you’re out and about on business (e.g. a restaurant) and it can use ratings to help you find the best restaurant for that important business lunch meeting.