What you need to know

  • A new Cortana UI is hidden in the latest preview build of Windows 10.
  • It introduces a new conversational UI, similar to what's available on Android and iOS.

A brand new Cortana experience for Windows 10 has made its first appearance in the latest preview build being tested by Windows Insiders. The feature was spotted by Albacore on Twitter, and is currently hidden in the latest build, but can be enabled via third-party tools. The experience is very similar to the Cortana experience on Android and iOS, with a conversational UI that encourages typing over voice.

The new Cortana experience is labeled "beta," and since Microsoft hasn't yet unveiled this new UI there's no official word on when we can expect this to show up for testing officially. It's likely we'll see this ship to the public with the Windows 10 20H1 release in the spring of next year, however.

Microsoft has been working on a new conversational Cortana experience for Windows 10 for a while now. In fact, it's something I wrote about back in 2018. Today, we're finally seeing the result of those plans take shape, and it's very exciting. Up until earlier this year, Cortana seemed pretty dead, but with a refreshed focus announced at Build, there's a lot of cool new features and experiences coming soon to Cortana.

Part of this work was completed with the last Windows 10 feature update, where Microsoft split up the Cortana and Search experiences to make way for a new Cortana experience that isn't deprioritized over search. Multiple users assumed the split meant Cortana was going away, but it actually meant the opposite. Microsoft split the two features up so that it could build out Cortana as a much more versatile and productive feature without getting in the way of search.

We're excited to see what Microsoft has planned for Cortana. What are your thoughts on the new Cortana experience? Let us know in the comments.