Cortana rumored to cross the Threshold with home in Windows taskbar

With the rumored upcoming version of desktop Windows, Microsoft is said to be introducing some major visual changes. One of those changes has been rumored for some time, and that's a new Start menu. However, the second rumor is news to us, and we're beginning to hear that Microsoft may be extending its Cortana digital assistant to the taskbar in new next iteration of Windows, codenamed Threshold.

This is still considered a rumor so it's unclear how likely this will happen. Various sites are reporting rumored features from leaked alpha or pre-alpha builds of what may be Windows 9 or Threshold. Unfortunately, even if new features or UI elements appear in these early builds, Microsoft may scrap them or change the look or functionality when the final consumer release ships, so even if Cortana is confirmed right now we still have no idea how it will look or feel if and when released.

"The location could certainly move or the functionality scrapped, but given how committed Microsoft is to Cortana, we fully expect this feature to ship in some form," admits Neowin, which is reporting this rumor.

Given the positive reception that Cortana is getting, especially being able to predict 15 of 16 World Cup matches accurately, Cortana's more widespread availability in Microsoft's ecosystem may be welcomed by consumers.

Other changes being rumored including a flatter UI, a continuing trend for many platforms including Windows rivals Android and iOS.

Changes to the Start menu shouldn't be too surprising as Microsoft had shown off a preview of what the new Start menu could look like to developers at its Build conference this year. Right now, it's just a matter of timing as to when that new Start menu will arrive.

Are you excited to see a full Cortana and Bing integration on the next release of Windows? What will you have Cortana do for you while you're at your PC or on a Surface tablet?

Source: Neowin

Chuong Nguyen

Chuong's passion for gadgets began with the humble PDA. Since then, he has covered a range of consumer and enterprise devices, raning from smartphones to tablets, laptops to desktops and everything in between for publications like Pocketnow, Digital Trends, Wareable, Paste Magazine, and TechRadar in the past before joining the awesome team at Windows Central. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, when not working, he likes exploring the diverse and eclectic food scene, taking short jaunts to wine country, soaking in the sun along California's coast, consuming news, and finding new hiking trails. 

  • Nice.. Waiting for this interesting stuff
  • Flatter desktop UI would be awesome!
  • Yes! At last Office 2013-like icons!
  • Yeah those icons would be just perfect!
  • Agreed
  • Google has recently introduced a new design language called Material design. If Microsoft can get to that level of beauty I will be very happy.
  • As a matter of fact, they ended up copying from Microsoft's own "Metro" design language - something that they criticized first, and then embraced (way to contradict yourself, Big G!!). IMHO the best implementation of a modern UI language still remains firmly at Microsoft's.
  • Well I never said Google came up with metro, I said they came up with "material design". Which they did... MS started the trend and everyone followed it. Just because they're the ones to start the trend doesn't mean they've got the best to offer. Google has done the work and made the user experience beautiful. I love the concept of simplicity and Google is doing a great job with that idea. Hopefully MS has something to match. Even Apple has got the hang of the design. MS needs to make everything look and work nicely, they need to pay attention to the little things. I'm Looking forward to threshold.
  • Are you dense?  "Hopefully MS has something to match. Even Apple has got the hang of the design. MS needs to make everything look and work nicely, they need to pay attention to the little things" They already have that design language: It was originally called Metro and thanks to a lawsuit from a stupid company only operating in Europe, Microsoft changed the name to WIndows Modern Design.  So to say Microsoft "needs to come up with an answer", they were the inventors of this sudden drive by the industry to this type of topography and design language.   And no, ElGoog didn't "invent" their "Material Design", and MIcrosoft certainly didn't invent Metro.  There were no other OS's in the market that offered close to what Microsoft brought to the table with Metro.  Since then, Apple does what Apple does (which is copy) and Google followed suite (which they have a habit of doing lately.)
  • Right, I don't think I've made myself clear. Google and Apple in my opinion have made their design language look and work better than Metro on Windows devices. Just because someone copied someone else doesn't mean they can't have a better product. All i'm saying is that MS should update Metro. Ex: Interactive tiles and paying attention to the littlest things. Metro needs that polish.
  • I'd say it ultimately boils down to personal taste and preferences. From my point of view, I really believe MS is the one that got its Modern UI looks right from the first time, and I see both Apple and Google trying to catch up with an UI model that - even if very attractive in aesthetics, in both cases - looks like a watered-down implementation of Microsoft's radical, originating concept (at least to me). I guess it would have been better if both of them had stayed true to their original visual style and enhanced it: it would have definitely resulted in a more varied offer to us users. I find this particularly true of Apple - I believe that the gorgeous, hyperdetailed icon style of previous OS X and iOS versions was what contributed to that "luxury items" feel for their products, and by now I guess most of that feeling is gone... :-)
  • I hope that 'Interactive Live Tiles' will make its way into Threshold Metro UI too.
  • This will be there in windows phone for future upcoming lumias cause they have to do it. If android and iPhone have interactive notifications, we have interactive live tiles with live notifications...
  • Same. I want to pin tiles to the desktop instead of just shortcuts.
  • I think I will be using Cortana more on Windows PC rather then on my WP.
  • This would be awesome. It would be nice if cortana could locate local PC files via search as well as internet searching.
  • I mean, she basically uses Bing and Bing does that on Windows already, she does that on the phone too believe it or not... ;)
  • It already does that..
  • It seems quite intresting. I love wp but nowadays i heard a rumour about APK support on wp platform? It will kill people's interest in wp. :(
  • I would prefer to use android apps on my windows phone rather than have to wait forever for developers to build a proper app specially for windows platform. Even a lot of the apps that are already on this platform are not on par with IOS and android, so I think this is a good thing.
  • Completely disagree but that's the joy of having opinions.
  • Good thing ? if they allow it, developers will say fuck it they can use the android version ! we won't see a lot of new apps !
  • There is still the incentive to create apps that work across windows 8, WP, and Xbone. The android apps would only works on the phone. Allow sideloading of APKs. If a developers wants windows phone users to pay for their apps, they would need to create metro apps. Otherwise, people will download APKs and install them for free.
  • Exactly!  And we know how well this strategy worked for Blackberry....  This is one of those slippery slopes.  Take the developers by the hand to create the apps, but then have the developers hold out for the MS payday to develop for them (at least until you have market share).  Have in-house developers create knock-offs that are as good or better, but listen to cnet tell everyone that WP still doesnt have the apps.  Or use buggy android apps that dont run well in VM.  Sounds like defeat to go down the Android road.  (Still cant figure the long view on Nokia X series). How about pay the phone carrier reps a better commission to sell a WP than an iphone x or a GS x  so that they can help people switch?  If you are locked into a phone contract or some other 6 month commitment,  you get locked into that OS based on the apps you buy and become familiar with.  Give the reps an incentive to sell and people an incentive to switch.
  • Its not.
  • Bad thing.  Very bad thing.
  • If WP devices run Android apps, there's no reason to create Windows 8 apps and the whole "universal" app benefit is no longer a benefit.
  • But recently micorsoft announces to run androind on lumias said by evleaks.
    And still we lack in apps, universal apps, and apps without best experiences.
  • I want her everywhere :P :D
  • Cool!
  • 6th comment
  • It would be great to see how they define Cortana Use case for WINDOWS. Becasue, people do completely different things on Laptop/Win8 Devices compared to phones.
  • I  suppose the idea would to be able to have Cortana's notebook sync across your Bing whatever you put in your Windows tablet or desktop, would end up on your Windows Phone. -Working at your desk? "Remind me to pick up my daughter from practice when I leave work."
    -Planning a trip to Florida at home? "Download maps of Florida to my phone." Seeing WP "Action Center" notifications would be sweet. The ability to reply to text messages, listen to voice mails.
  • A Flatter look! Is that possible?
  • Yes, the desktop environment is not flat at all, and looks like it's from the 90s.
  • Yes. Flatten the desktop. Bulldoze and then steamroll it. It'll create a less visually jarring experience between it and metro. I wonder if they'll keep with the extremely colorful metro look or tone it down for a more subdued, mature look. Either way, I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing what comes out of this OS.
  • Yeah I never thought I would be missing the glass, but it's a weird mishmash of skeumorphic perspective icons and a semi-metro look in Windows 8.  Step backwards in manyways.  Also doesn't work properly with dark themes as the titlebar text doesn't invert (Very annoying).  I'd like to see a completely fresh icon set to be honest, and some windows phone style transitions in the desktop - but I don't think it will happen.
  • Have you seen the gradients on every tile of the Windows 8 Start screen? Unnecessary shadows under the windows in the desktop, plus the even more unnecessary frames around each one.. here's hoping it'll be looking like this:
  • I'd rather have Aero Glass back, personally.  I'm tired of the flat look.  I like a bit of 3D on my desktop, hover-over highlights like the start menu and taskbar buttons have in Windows 7.
  • They need to have a look at what Google is doing. Google has nailed simple design with their "material design". Windows needs to take a look at competitors and work on making the platform beautiful. I like windows 8 but there are still many things that can be further stripped down to essentials. The icons are a personal peeve of mine. Can't wait to see what threshold has got in store for us all
  • Cortana isn't on WP outside the US. Will it be on PCs outside the US? If not, then Microsoft can't hope to increase from 14% of devices to too much more. Global services are needed. There is a world outside USA.
  • Whaaaa???...
    I bet next you'll say the world isn't flat! /s
  • What?
  • /s = end sarcasm.
  • Yeah, yeah... Tell it to the UN =P
    I'm totally kidding, but you're right. Here's hoping the councils in the world outside the US are as forth-coming.. =[
  • Cortana will be available outside of the US before the end of the year and Windows 9 won't be released until after the end of the year. Of course, a desktop Cortana will work differently than on WP, so it's possible that desktop Cortana will be only in the US for some amount of time, there is also a chance it'll be available in multiple countries from day one.
  • This whole region-locking is simply stupid. It's the 21st century LOTS of people can speak english! Why do they have to lock it to US? I mean WP TellMe was not region locked. If it lacked native language support it was still fully usable in english on ANY region, so why is Cortana region-locked?
  • Will the new home screen be able to be operated by avg user?
  • Yes, since the current home screen can do that.
  • The PC now becomes Xbox with kinect
  • Cool she's great.
  • Seeing as Google Now is available with Chrome and Chrome OS, MSFT would be idiots not to roll out Cortana to Windows. However, MSFT would need to ensure all manufacturers equip their devices with GNSS/GPS for location awareness. I'm looking forward to this.
  • What if they made the taskbar start to work and act like the bottom of the Bing search page? All the pinned programs and apps appear as normal but it can be "opened" to reveal the thumbnails essentially and scroll to the right to show more, while Cortana has our interests readily available..? O_o
  • They should but they won't
  • Sounds great, Bing it on!
  • Threshold...a great name...
  • I can't wait for threshold! I hope they don't delay it.
  • Cortana being ported into Windows and (further down the path) Xbox should be a shocker to anyone, honestly. Then again, with current Microsoft odd moves, you never know whether Cortana will actually be ready for Threshold.
  • You meant shouldn't, no? =x
  • I think it should be exclusive to wp.....
  • cortana is almost completely cloud based, i dont see why they dont port it to RT and w8.1, even without location it can do web searches and respond to the usual questions, add reminders etc, you dont need location tracking for that in most cases, and even then, your favorite places are available to all your windows devices
  • In another interesting news... MS is making Cortana the Researcher’s Dream Assistant or as they put it "Cortana is about to get smarter—way smarter."
  • Thanks, Sridhar! Will post something on it right now.
  • :) Welcome!
  • Hi Chuong . You can share your wallpaper? I really like and would like to have this background, please .
  • Find it kinda strange that it's fine for Microsoft to integrate Bing so tightly now, but when they built ie into the OS they were blasted by anti trust.  Oh how times have changed..
  • And when the do get blasted, you'll see that Google and Apple will get a free pass to continue doing the very same thing.
  • Ummm not a rumored. One of my friends takes a "developer" class at some college. And his instructor gas threshold. Given to him by msft. No joke.
  • I'm just guessing - USA only. Not so interesting :(
  • Nice. I am looking forward to this.
  • Well, yes, of course, I'm anxious to see Cortana and more Bing integration with the other parts of the ecosystem.  But on the TASK BAR?  Seriously?  I SO do not want to have to use the desktop, much less the Task Bar, on my Windows 8 machines.  My Task Bar on all Win8 machines is completely empty except for the System Tray.  I use the Speech Recognition on Windows 8, so if they plan to integrate Cortana with that then I'm happy to see it.  But if I have to tap something on my Task Bar, I call foul!
  • how do you not use the taskbar at all?  Ever hear of Jump Lists?  That's one of my favorite features.      
  • Flatter UI for desktop YES
  • hell yeah - another step closer to asking our computer to do stuff and it does it without having to do all the granular steps to get there.  I'd love to tell Cortana to do stuff like send an email to so and so and what to say in it. Also would love to have Office integration so you can say, create a graph or create a pivot table.
  • I would definitely have Cortana make me some tea while I'm at my PC.
  • Oh please yes! Definitely downloading the Preview Version of Threshold this coming fall when it is released ;)
  • Of course, since Siri is also powered by Bing, all these cool academic additions Microsoft is adding will automatically be available through Siri as well.  Not so?
  • Ummmm, no.  Just because siri is powered by Bing doesn't mean its going to be as smart as Cortana.  Its not what powers it but how it grabs the information, how smart the service is to know how to use the information.  Just because someone is born from parents who are doctors doesn't mean they'll be smart enough to become a doctor him/herself.
  • This would make my day!!
  • Bring it on, Cortana to Windows 9 and Xbox One, to their car OS.  The voice assistant would be a welcome to any form of Windows.
  • ...if you are in the U.S.
  • I like the Cortana logo. I'd totally pin that to my taskbar.
  • I really don't miss the old Startmenu - Not one bit. If they want to bring it back for people that still haven't managed to disable it be my guest but you better not diss the current one I love to use.
  • I want Cortana across all platforms. To be a true AI assistant, I should be able to access her and have her send reminders and news to the device I am using at the time. This would be a game changer. Would be great to have Cortana wake me in the morning and start reading through my days agenda and giving me headlines of news and then continue in the living room when I am in front of XBox One and then back to the phone when I am in the car. Then have her jump to my PC when I arrive at work. Alerts, texts, breaking news, email, should be available on all my Microsoft devices.
  • Rather than make us confuse with metro&desktop, it 'd better that MS make all desktop Icon being metro.
  • I am looking forward to Cortana and Word Flow on Windows. My Dell Venue 8 Pro would be so much better with those two software additions.
  • I hope for wp8-like word predictive text.
  • I can see them simply replacing Bing with Cortana, given how even more tightly bing is integrated into windows 8.1. As that Cortana does on Windows phone, she over rides (when enabled) Bing when the search button is pressed.
  • Kill the start menu! Stay strong MS. WIN7 should be the last start menue windows os.
  • Coz people don't realize how awesome the start screen is. They are still living in the primitive ages.
    All they want is a static and small menu with just shortcut and small search bar. That is so awesome for them.
  • I'm sorry I don't know what a flatter UI is lol I'm dumb
  • If Android apps run on WP then this is the end of C# and C++.
  • Chuong, the title of this article is awesome. Nice work.  
  • Ok. No more xp and vista icons on new windows please?
  • Bring also wordflow to windows.
  • For the love of God please let us have the ability to remove or disarm any Start Menu.  :/
  • Hmm, what if instead of a start button, it is a "Cortana Button"... Where the Windows Logo is the Cortana Logo, and when clicking it you bring up a star menu like thing, but you also have the "Command" line for speaking to Cortana? That be pretty cool. Of course typing something would just search like normal, but when using voice or clicking some sort of "Toggle" switch, you can tell her things. (Like "Remind me to pick up dog food at 7PM on Friday")
  • +520
  • I am all aquiver, literally shaking for History to be made. :)