In recent news, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) decides to pull the plug on the Cortana – the popular virtual assistant app. It was a move which was long anticipated as Cortana had failed to keep up with its more worthy successors from other companies such as Siri, Alexa or the Google Assistant.
This news of the discontinuation of the Cortana app was quietly published in the support forum of Microsoft for the said app which mentioned that Microsoft will integrate Cortana in the Microsoft 365 productivity apps whilst killing the standalone version of the app. It is also scheduled to be pulled from all the major app stores in the UK, Australia, Germany, Mexico, China, Spain, Canada, and India as mentioned by Microsoft.
Cortana, which was first released by Microsoft to the public in the month of December in the year 2015, derived its name from a popular game by Microsoft called ‘Halo’. In the gameplay, the gamers were provided with all the essential tactical information and backstory via the then fictional A.I. character which was voiced by Jen Taylor. Later on, she also went on to voice Cortana the voice assistant.
In many ways, Cortana was one of the first movers in the voice-enabled virtual assistant market and paved the way for newer and better alternatives to make way into the market. Cortana’s primary offering was to deliver personalised recommendations and services. Users were able to instruct Cortana to find information, schedule appointments, set notifications or reminders as and when they required. Cortana relied on the Bing search engine and the stored data of a user on a particular device to offer these personalised services and recommendations. This might not sound like a huge leap in technology right now but back then it surely was considered one.
Future of ‘Voice-Enabled Virtual Assistants’
With Cortana biting the dust, it was a clear indication that only the best can survive in this market segment. If a particular virtual assistant isn’t able to upgrade to newer and better technologies fast enough, it will most certainly fail to keep the users hooked to their services.
The battle is theirs to win who can constantly keep reinventing and innovating their products. With significant improvement and growth that’s been happening in the fields of Artifical Intelligence and Machine Learning, we await even bigger and better things to happen to the voice-enabled virtual assistant market segment in the coming years.