Microsoft has made some big changes to Cortana on Windows 10. The voice activated personal assistant, which appears in the form of a constantly visible search bar, quietly received an update over the weekend that gives users even more powerful tools for searching.
Cortana now includes a selection of different filters at the top of its search results page. Now, if a user types in "excel," they can specify that they're only looking for applications with that name. WindowsCentral said that, prior to this change, Cortana would search in every way it knew how to. That could have meant seeing web results for "excel," or documents that had the query term in their title.
The changes are slowly filtering through, but customers don't need to update their computer to see the new layout. Cortana's search results are a simple web page, so Microsoft does not need to push out any patches to make updates like these. It's all done on the company's servers.
It's a small change, but one that shows Microsoft's dedication to making the assistant as useful as possible. Cortana is powered by Bing, so any improvements to the Windows 10 assistant will encourage more consumers to use Microsoft's search engine.
Microsoft made a big bet when it chose to deeply integrate Bing into Windows 10, and there's signs that it's paying off. After the June 2015 Windows 10 launch, Bing attained profitability for the first time in October 2015.
Plenty of hurdles are yet to come though if Bing wants to maintain this momentum. More consumers are searching on mobile, a point of weakness for Microsoft as its mobile platform struggles to make inroads in the market. The company has sought to combat this tide by launching Cortana on Android and iOS.