When Microsoft introduced Cortana in 2014, there was no doubt that it would be comparable to other popular personal (virtual) assistants.
Cortana was in the same league as Siri and Alexa, however; today Siri and Alexa dominate automated systems, while Cortana is nowhere to be found.
So, why is Cortana falling behind, and why is automation so useless?
Cortana is so useless for automation because she scores poorly (63%) at answering questions correctly and can easily be tricked into installing malware. Her features have also not been updated to the same level as Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, so she’s slower and constantly breaking.
If you were to use Cortana for automation, you’d probably run mad before you plug it off and do everything yourself.
Instead of making your life easier, Cortana would make it more complicated.
The rest of this article will explain why Cortana is useless and unfit for automation.
What Makes Cortana Unsuitable for Automation?
When looking for a voice assistant for automation, most consider its ability to control multiple devices, accessibility to personal information like the calendar, play content from compatible devices, and ability to control music.
Unfortunately, Cortana falls behind other voice assistants which excel in these functions.
Cortana is unsuitable for automation because she’s not easily accessible, the functions are limited, and she sometimes responds by showing instead of speaking.
Cortana also tends to respond with unnecessary questions instead of acting on direct commands, and she only understands a few languages.
As consumers become more reliant on automation to make their lives easier, they look for voice assistants who can perform most functions with minimal fuss.
Unfortunately, Cortana struggles to perform the simplest tasks, making her unsuitable for automation.
This video gives a little background about Cortana and her potential, and why she fell short of her expectation:
Siri vs. Alexa vs. Cortana vs. Google Assistant
The competition in the AI assistant market has been quite stiff.
Alexa (Amazon), Siri (Apple), Cortana (Microsoft), and Google Assistant (Google) are the main voice assistants in the market.
Consumers prefer one over the other based on their needs. I’ll go over various consumer needs next.
Accessibility in Multiple Devices
Google Assistant is available on various devices, including all iOS and Android devices.
Google Assistant became even more popular when Google released home speakers, all connected to the Google Assistant.
Besides Google, many other third-party players release devices with Google AI-enabled hardware.
Alexa is available on Amazon’s Echo line of speakers, Fire tablets, and Fire TV.
Among all of the voice assistants, Alexa is the most versatile.
It’s available in many devices of different designs and sizes.
It differs from Google assistant, which is found in multiple, but similar speakers.
The Alexa app also supplements other Alexa devices.
Siri is available on almost all Apple devices, including phones, laptops, tablets, smartwatches, and desktops.
Siri is also available on Apple’s range of speakers and the Home Pod.
Unfortunately, no third parties have released devices compatible with Siri.
However, Sonos, the producer of high-end speakers, intends to make speakers compatible with Siri and other AI assistants.
Compared to all of the voice assistants, Cortana is available on limited devices.
You can download it on Android and iOS devices, but, unfortunately, it’s not available on third-party hardware.
Microsoft’s decision to integrate their devices with Alexa further alienated Cortana in home automation.
Ease of Setup
Automation is supposed to be easy to set up, even for people who aren’t tech-savvy.
The setup process is also rated based on app integration, adaptive responses, and custom settings.
Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa are intuitive and take a very short time to initiate access.
Unfortunately, Cortana falls behind the rest in ease of setup.
You need to log in to Cortana on your device, and you can’t use a work or school email address.
You then have to wait for a verification code.
These limitations and challenges are why many people choose not to use them.
You can’t use your phone number, the email address has to be right, and you can’t sign in with your name.
Voice Recognition and Understanding Commands
Cortana still takes the last position in voice recognition.
Half of the time, she doesn’t hear the command, and when she does, she misses the context or misinterprets the question.
For example, when you ask to be reminded to pick up your dry cleaning when you leave the office, she may ask, “where do I remind you?”
Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant are great at voice recognition.
They often hear the command and occasionally get them wrong, but not to Cortana’s level.
This video gives a detailed comparison of Cortana, Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant.
The Future of Cortana
There’s no doubt that Cortana is failing in automation.
Cortana was first scaled down and is only available in very few countries.
Support for Cortana has also been phased out in some Android and iOS devices.
Instead of looking at Cortana as a competition for Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri, Microsoft sees it as an organizer and productivity assistant.
Cortana’s productivity functions include:
- Creation and management of lists.
- Set alarms and reminders.
- Open apps when directed.
- Alert you when you have a meeting.
Cortana’s future hangs in the balance.
This uncertainty is one of the reasons many people choose to ignore Cortana and focus on AI that is more futuristic than Cortana.
Microsoft has invested heavily in products like Office 365, and they’ve been quite successful.
Cortana’s failure to compete favorably with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri appears intentional.
This is probably the primary reason Cortana is useless for automation.
Fortunately, Cortana isn’t completely useless.
Although she falls behind in many aspects, she can be helpful at times.
For example, Cortana is a great organizer and often has funny jokes.
This may be enough for some consumers, but there’s no doubt that most consumers prefer the other voice assistants on the market.