Microsoft is making some big changes to Cortana in Windows 10. The software giant is planning to decouple search and Cortana in the Windows 10 taskbar, allowing voice queries to be handled separately to typing in a search box to find documents and files. This change will be implemented in the next major Windows 10 update, currently scheduled for April. Windows 10 will direct you towards a built-in search experience for text queries, while Cortana will exist for voice queries instead of them both bundled together.
“This will enable each experience to innovate independently to best serve their target audiences and use cases,” explains Dona Sarkar, Microsoft’s Windows Insider chief. “This change is one of several we’ve made throughout this release to improve your experience in this space, including updating the search landing page design, enhancing your search results, and integrating Microsoft To-Do with Cortana.”
While this doesn’t mean Cortana is going away, it does significantly reduce its use in Windows 10. It also allows Microsoft to greatly improve Windows search, away from the Cortana integration, although there might be some confusion around having two separate places for voice and text search on the taskbar. Microsoft has been experimenting with making Windows 10 search more Apple-like previously, and many Windows users have called on the company to implement more reliable and powerful built-in search. One way Microsoft could achieve this is by integrating in custom web queries and automated workflows like Alfred for Mac supports.
There are signs Microsoft is willing to innovate in search for Windows. The software maker unveiled “Microsoft Search” last year, promising that the new service will power search results in Office and Windows. Microsoft Search is still in the early phases, but apps like Microsoft Teams are showing that a command / search bar -- that allows users to quickly access app features or run commands in apps – is a much-needed feature for Windows.