That Microsoft is throwing Cortana into the Windows 9 recipe should not be surprising; in fact, the move should be expected given that Google already offers Google Now on the PC, and Apple is trying to patent a Siri-like service on OS X. Microsoft, it seems, will need to keep pace.
But what's interesting to read is Cortana's progress in the Threshold development state, as rumors now claim that Cortana will be fully integrated into the operating system when it supposedly launches in Spring 2015.
According to Neowin, Cortana is a "simple app" that Threshold users manually open. The app, once it's launched, doesn't encompass the full screen as seen on Windows Phone 8.1, instead taking up around 25 percent of the screen and residing in the middle. Here the user can type out a question to the virtual assistant, or verbally ask the question if a microphone is installed.
Windows 9 "Threshold" is expected to launch in a consumer preview mode sometime before the end of the year. So far, Microsoft isn't saying a word about the new platform but is somehow unable to keep various builds out of the hands of Windows leakers. The rumor we see today likely stems from one of those builds.
Fans of Microsoft's Halo series will recognize the Cortana name as the artificial intelligence voiced by Jen Taylor. In the real world, she uses Bing's Satori technology, which in Japanese means "understanding." Cortana, which was initially introduced back in April 2014, can answer questions, provide reminders, and use machine learning to virtually "get to know" the end user.
Several months ago, the Cortana team said that the virtual assistant will be updated twice per month. This will likely carry over to the desktop version as well, keeping Cortana up-to-date on both Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 9. The question is, will we see Cortana when the Windows 9 customer preview rolls out in Q4 2014 or when Windows 9 makes its retail debut in the Spring?
Previous rumors concerning Windows 9 claimed that Microsoft plans to rip out the weird Charms bar and put the Start Menu back where it belongs. Cortana for Windows 9 is also expected to be more advanced than it is now. There's even talk that Windows 9 may actually be free for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 customers. Wouldn't that be interesting.