If you own a Microsoft Windows phone or desktop PC, you may already be acquainted with Cortana. The voice-controlled virtual assistant is good for things like searching the web and sending emails hands-free, and pretty soon she may be useful around the home as well. As The Verge reports, Microsoft is developing the feature for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, including toasters, thermostats, and fridges.
The plan was revealed by Microsoft officials at the tech company’s recent WinHEC conference in China. As Microsoft program manager Carla Forester explained to The Verge, the Windows 10 Creators Update will enable “any kind of smart device with a screen” to use Cortana. Microsoft provided some suggestions for possible IoT hardware but is leaving the door open for manufacturers to build devices for the new software.
The update also includes far-field speech, which will allow users to activate their devices with a “Hey Cortana” voice command from up to 13 feet away. This means that a homeowner with Windows 10 IoT Core appliances could adjust her thermostat or preheat his oven without leaving the sofa.
Windows users will still have to wait a bit before trying the new-and-improved Cortana for themselves; the latest Windows update is expected to roll out in March 2017. Until then they can pass the time by asking Cortana whether or not it's raining outside.
[h/t The Verge]