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Cortana to form circle of life in Windows 10

Microsoft's 'contextual operating service' promises hakuna matata across devices

Microsoft has revealed more details of just how its personal assistant Cortana will work in Windows 10.

The assistant's been given a visual representation based on circles, with the variations at the top of the story representing Cortana in different moods and when performing different tasks. The circles will appear as animations in Windows 10 in a small window at bottom left near the revived Start apparatus, according to this saccharine video.

Microsoft's using broad brush strokes to describe Cortana's functions, saying “She will learn your preferences, provide quick access to information, and make recommendations personalized for you.” The software will also figure out “... that when you’re on your phone, your interaction is generally going to be brief; when you’re on your PC, your goals are going to be in line with steady periods of productivity.”

This means one will be able to “... tell Cortana on your phone to deliver a reminder that pops up, at just the right time, on your desktop”. There's also a promise to have “... Cortana to help you easily find the music you want and play it from any of the devices, throughout your home, across PCs, phones, tablets and speakers, in a group setting.”

Microsoft's also saying that Cortana is no mere assistant, but “the first contextual operating service”.

A what?

That's “a system that knows you so well that it can predict your patterns to help you get things done” in something closer to English. And according to Microsoft does it all day, starting with a phone by your bed first thing in the morning.

Redmond's also promising “You’re always in control of what Cortana knows and manages on your behalf”, which sounds like a big “hakuna matata”* on the privacy and security front.

There's more of this stuff to come: the video and posts we've linked to are clearly the start of a charm offensive to introduce Cortana to the public. The video even offers an explanation about the overlap between Halo Universe Cortana and Windows 10 Cortana, presumably to calm down folks who worry about such things.

More of this stuff, please Redmond, with more detail. Animated circles are fun for punters, but if this stuff is built into Windows for the enterprise we'll need more information about security and cross-platform abilities. ®

* A phrase popularised by Disney's Lion King, from the Swahili for “no worries”. The Lion King also features a song called Circle of Life, a factoid we mention in case we've been too obscure.

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