In the battle of virtual voice assistants, Microsoft’s Cortana lags behind its rivals Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant when it comes to popularity, but a new patent shows that Microsoft isn’t giving up yet, and is looking at ways to make Cortana work better with third party apps.
According to the patent, Microsoft is aiming for “an extensibility client that exposes an interface and service that enables third party applications to be integrated with the digital assistant”. This will allow, in Microsoft’s words, for “application user experiences [that] are rendered using the native voice of the digital assistant”.
In plain English, the patent concerns itself with allowing users to control popular third party apps using Cortana voice commands.
By allowing Cortana to work better with non-Microsoft apps, Microsoft must be hoping that it will encourage more people to use its voice assistant.
The patent aims to make it easier for developers to make their apps support Cortana, including voice recognition, text-to-speech features (so Cortana can read out text in an app, for example) and control application-specific features.
It shows that Microsoft is doubling down on Cortana, after previous news hinted that Microsoft may be losing interest in competing against other voice assistants.
We’ve heard how Microsoft was looking to make Cortana to be a better productivity tool – rather than a chummy voice assistant for controlling your smart home – and this patent hints at one of the ways the company is looking at making it more useful.