Cortana: A Worthy Virtual Assistant?

Some know that Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to the Siri’s and Alexa’s of the world, is based off the AI character in the Halo Video game series. However, those not familiar with the popular series know Cortana as the virtual assistant that was released with Windows 10.


The intro:

Upon initial use of new Windows laptops and desktops, Cortana introduces herself as she walks you through the setup process and touts the different types of tasks, she’ll be able to perform. Cortana is baked into the Windows OS, allowing this voice assistant to take advantage of its resources and seamlessly handle tasks via the sound of your voice request. This a convenient option if you are used to voice assistants and want to speed through a task.

So, what can she do? Helpful tasks include:

  • Answer inquires often found online
  • Calendar management
  • Meeting assistance
  • Setting lists, appointments, reminders and alarms
  • Launching apps or programs, hands-free
  • Provide weather and new information
  • Draft emails and text messages (Android only)
  • Configure basic computer settings via voice (ex: Turning on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth)
These are just a few among the many others available. (Side note: Lists can be found online with more tricks and tips if you’re interested)

What else should I know about Cortana?

Cortana is helpful and novel, but she is not as robust as competitors such as Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. Also, she is limited mostly to anything on your PC, so she’s not as helpful out and about as the competition.

Are there any disadvantages to using Cortana?

If installed with “Express Settings” at first launch, Cortana is able to track all of your information from the get-go.
On the heels of the last tidbit, those that are privacy-centric might find that the information she collects to enhance your experience might be a bit too intrusive.
Though you cannot uninstall Cortana, there is an option to disable if needed. Most people do tend to go this route as she tends to slow down your computer (After all, she is constantly running in the background just waiting to assist).
Final verdict:
Depending on your type of use and the needs for the shortcuts the software provides, Cortana is a 5 out of 10 for us. The privacy concerns and the limited tasks that come with her just aren’t enough to make us converts, and so she will remain off for the foreseeable future on our ends.
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