Rumours are going round that Microsoft management came with an ambitious initiative to expand the recently launched virtual personal assistant – Cortana across devices, platforms and regions and the evaluation of the merits of bringing it to other platforms like Android and iOS is in process.
Business Insider reports that Microsoft chief experience officer Julie Larson-Green told a group of journalists and analysts that Cortana could be destined to land on other OSes and when asked whether that meant Cortana would eventually come to other operating systems, Larson-Green said, "The short answer is, yeah."
The answer is positive but it’s not a trivial challenge. The experience of using Cortana on a system like iOS or Android would not be as rich or easy as it is on Windows Phone. Microsoft likely won't be able to tap into hardware keys to quickly call up Cortana as it does by a press of the search key on Windows Phone.
Taking into account all the pros and cons of bringing Cortana to other platforms, Marcus Ash, group program manager for Cortana on Windows Phone pointed that the decision to do so is more complicated that it may seem from first sight. He points.
"We want to scale Cortana internationally and across devices. The Android/iOS question is interesting. We're asking, would Cortana be as effective if she didn't have access to the details on your phone? We're still trying to get Cortana adopted on Windows Phone and figure out what it wants to become there. But we're actively talking about this”.
"Clearly we want people to buy Windows, we have a bunch of Windows customers, hundreds of millions that have Windows PCs and would love for them to have a great Cortana experience because once they have that they will probably consider other devices and say 'Well, I want to match them up.' But how do we get Android users or these other iOS users that use Windows to have a great experience?"
In the process of evaluation more and more important questions come forth. “How Cortana would affect traditional smartphone search?”
Ash said the integration of the search box and the virtual assistant is the goal, "The search box is what people know. That's why we're trying to bring [it and Cortana] together. The declarative intent of traditional search saves us so much effort - if you tell us what your interest are via search, Cortana gets so much better. We think Cortana makes you more likely to search, it doesn't replace search."
Want to learn more? Don’t hesitate to watch the video from the SMX Advanced search marketing conference in Seattle.