“Cortana, play bits of Mine!”

Digital assistants on smartphones are so last year. Or actually more like so the year before the year before the year before last year 🙂 By now, many of us have such personal relationships with our digital assistants, that we are even getting used to addressing them by their first names, such as Siri or Cortana. But what is quite common in the mobile world, is not so common in the desktop/laptop world: In the desktop world, voice assistants have been a rarely spotted species so far. Windows 10 sets out to change that and brings Cortana to the world of desktops.

Of course, Cortana requires one thing to do its job: speech recognition. Without speech recognition, you could talk to Cortana for hours and hours, it couldn’t care less 🙂 With speech recognition, Cortana might be able to understand what you are saying. And in the best case, it might even figure out what you want.

And here’s the thing: Speech recognition on Windows 10 is not limited to Cortana. All Windows 10 apps can make use of it. Cool.

But beyond being cool, is it also helpful? Well, the proof is in the pudding, so we thought. That’s why we activated speech recognition in bitsofMine, gave it a handful of phrases and pushed this version to the store. And no, we don’t call it a feature and hence we did not mention Cortana in the Windows Store. It’s more of an experiment. At this point in time, bitsofMine only reacts to these English phrases when you are currently viewing your timeline:

  • “Open map” – you’ll probably can guess what should happen!?
  • “Close map” – yes, that’s as straightforward as it sounds, too
  • “Play bits of Mine”,
  • “Play random bits”, and
  • “Start random bits” will start the random slideshow
  • “Move timeline to next year”,
  • “Move timeline to the next year”, and
  • “Move timeline to the following year” will move the timeline from its current position one year into the future
  • “Move timeline to last year”,
  • “Move timeline to the last year”, and
  • “Move timeline to the previous year” will move the timeline from its current position one year into the past

When toying with these commands ourselves, we found the ones that trigger large time leaps to be especially useful. Also, they are a very good fit to Cortana, because it’s hard to set them up in the graphical UI – unless we wanted to bloat bitsofMine’s UI, which we don’t 🙂

But anyway, the floor and the experiment are yours: Just give it a go and let us know what you think. All you need is a good mic (we found that the right mic will make a huge difference…) and an environment where you can talk to your computer without receiving strange looks.

Happy talking!