One of the major features of Windows 10 is called Cortana, your virtual assistant that will do stuff you tell it to do using a built-in speech-to-text converter that is capable of telling you recent stock quotes or perform a search query – all solely with your voice.
Click Into Cortana Search Bar
1. Click into the search field on your taskbar
2. You will be asked to log into your Microsoft account
3. If you are currently using a local account, use the button Sign In and follow the instructions on your screen. You will be asked to switch your local account to a Microsoft account. All of your files will remain where they are but you will henceforth have to log into your Microsoft account before you can access your computer.
Optional: Switching From Local Account To Microsoft Account
4. Sign In:
5. If you already have a Microsoft Live account (live.com) you can log in now, if you don’t you will have to create one first:
6. In order to protect your account, you may have to provide your mail address you registered with:
7. The final step is to confirm the switch. Please note that all files will remain where they are but you have to log into your PC using the Live.com password from now on. You should also know that Microsoft may track how you use Cortana (anonymously) to improve the service. For example, right now Cortana has problems identifying certain words; in order to improve the speech-to-text features they will need more samples and will record samples for processing.
Tell Cortana Your Name
Don’t be rude, tell Cortana your name and what you would like to be called:
Start Talking To Cortana
I wanted to see how well the speech-to-text feature works and quite honestly, Amazon did a better job with it’s FireTV remote control (that allows you to search for movie by talking to the remote) that would understand me 9/10 times.
Cortana still fails to understand even simple commands like “open browser”, which it would sometimes convert into “open frozen”, which is not even close. Somethings Cortana came up were really funny.
But after a few tries you will get the hang of it. Admittedly, I’m a foreign speaker and Cortana may have some problems with my accent. You need to speak very clearly and it helps to only speak out the keywords e.g. “Microsoft stock price”:
Cortana will then convert your speech into text and you will see what Cortana makes of it. It will either search via Bing or directly open a stock quote or related apps to the task at hand.
I am certain that Microsoft devs are hard at work improving the speech-to-text features. I really hope they don’t ship it as it is right now, because that may result in a lot of negative feedback. Apple and Amazon at the moment have much better speech recognition features, but it’s still a technical preview and they will hopefully sort it out until RTM (release to manufacturing).