They say becoming number one is easier than remaining number one. This became a life lesson for Microsoft when its digital personal assistant Cortana couldn’t keep up with its competitors. Recently, Microsoft revealed that it has decided to pull the plug on its Cortana app for iOS and Android.
The software maker has confirmed that the Cortana app will stop functioning in the UK, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Spain, Australia, China and India from January 31, 2020.
Initially, Microsoft had arranged a vast platform for Cortana as it was supposed to launch on fridges, microwaves and many more devices but it barely made it onto a smart speaker. The signs of Cortana’s expiry were visible since last year when Microsoft moved Cortana out of its AI research division and into its Experiences and Devices. But, before you bid a goodbye, here’s a small rundown on what you’ll be missing out on.
Cortana could set reminders for you based on time, place or people. Now you might say ‘so can Siri or Google Assistant, what’s so special about that?’ But with Cortana, you could add a personal touch. For instance, if you wanted to say something specifically to a contact in your smartphone, Cortana used to remind you about that, the next time they called or sent a message.
Cortana used to keep a record of your favourite teams, track all your interests and keep a regular check on transportation. If you wanted to know the flight fare between Hyderabad to Bengaluru, Cortana would not just keep a check but also a statistical record of the fare fluctuation on a daily basis, until you find the one you needed.
It could send emails and texts just on a voice command. This one is a common, but the app users will surely miss the dependency. Cortana also used to curate playlists according to your recent played and downloaded songs.
Cortana could sync and manage your calendar and keep you up-to-date. It used to send a separate notification about your upcoming events, your daily schedule, important occasions, birthdays, festivals and what not.
“One of my favourite features was the ‘Photo-based reminder’ wherein I just took a picture of the jeans I wanted to purchase and the next time I went shopping, Cortana ended up reminding me about it,” says Shravya who’s using a Samsung Galaxy Note 9, but is having a hard time parting with the app.
It’s difficult to tell where Cortana will be in the coming years, but it’s quite evident from Microsoft’s changes that the company wants its digital assistant to disappear into the background. It’ll still show up in products where a voice assistant is required, but you’ll be speaking to Alexa or Google Assistant, and not Cortana on your next fridge!