Out of the box, Cortana is the search function in Windows 10 now and does the normal sort of thing that you would expect from a search function – it will do local and web searches now. So far pretty much the same as the Windows 8.1 Start Search function. So what is the excitement then?
In Windows Phone 8.1 Cortana has existed for a while however in Windows 10 – it gets taken to the next level. (And Windows Phone 10 will include the new flavor of Cortana)
To truly bring Cortana to life in Windows 10 you need to do a little configuration.
- Click in the Cortana text box and click Allow (this means that you are giving Cortana access to your data – important to note that you can withdraw this permission at any time)
- Cortana then asks you what you would like to be called, equally important that your assistant knows how to address you! (Cortana then tries out the pronunciation as well – so you can check that she has your name right)
- Then you get to choose some interests. This then gives Cortana some help to bring news to you. Again this can be changed at any time.
- Clicking on the Hamburger brings up the rest of the configuration for Cortana. At this point go to Settings.
- In the settings, you can do some changes to the name you are called by Cortana, the permissions and such. In my case I enabled all the options – the “Let Cortana respond when you say “Hey Cortana.”” is the important one here for the moment.
- Click on the Hamburger again and then go to places. This is where you can put in locations that will be relevant to you – On the phone, Cortana starts to learn where you go and what you do and will suggest locations such as home and work (as an aside – I work from home a lot and some days my only journey out will be to take the kids to daycare – which meant that Cortana was convinced that I worked at the local daycare!)
And there you have it – you are now good to go with Cortana – so you can now casually speak to your computer to do things like, reminders, appointments and searches.
Kyle’s handy tip is this – when you say “Hey Cortana”, don’t pause before you say the next bit. Cortana is already listening and gets confused by the pause. So if you want to set a reminder for 2 hours from now, simply say “Hey Cortana, remind me of something in 2 hours” rather than “Hey Cortana” (pause) “remind me of something in 2 hours”