Cortana for Windows 10 Mobile to simplify to 'apps, documents, web' searching

Published by at

Cortana, as a digital assistant, is being de-emphasised across all Microsoft properties. It was last seen being taken out back, blindfolded and then - bizarrely - heading up tutelage in Office! Unsurprisingly then, it has now stopped working on Windows 10 Mobile too, with a change noticed since the start of 2020. Don't worry, you get a degree of search help, but the assistant has left the building...

A few years ago, Cortana on Windows meant a full 'Notebook', with data about you, reminders, skills and more. It would recognise ambient music, tell you whether it was going to rain, read the news, keep track of your stocks and favourite sports, and much more. Little by little these functions have been removed, replaced by Bing web searches in most cases.

As a result, since the start of 2020 you're more likely to see the following interface - note that in my case on a Lumia 950 XL in the UK - it wasn't fully working and, with the right button taps, I could still 'explore' my Cortana 'Notebook'. So clearly things are in transition on Microsoft's servers and - also clearly - no one at Microsoft cares much about 'breaking' Cortana on Windows 10 Mobile.


The traditional Windows Phone/Windows 10 Mobile voice interface is still there, at least in form, plus (right) the hamburger menu (Notebook) is initially available too. However...


Everything goes wrong when you try and DO things. Say ask for a reminder (left) or ask about the weather. The first goes off to the web, which doesn't help at all, and the second does bring up a forecast, but in Bing on the wider Web.


After your query, you're presented with this new UI, clearly aimed at PC users (hence the message), and with three search controls, for apps, documents, and the web. None of them actually work. Ahem.

As I say, it's all a right mess at the moment. Hopefully it will settle into something that at least works, even if it's not the all-singing, all-dancing assistant to compete with Google and Siri...