72% of Windows 10 Users use Cortana Less than Once a Month

Zarathustra[H]

I Complain about Everything
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Today at Build 2017, Microsoft's developer conference, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Windows 10 has reached a new milestone, with 500 million monthly active installations. Of course, this is about half the billion installations they had targeted reaching by now, and they reached that figure using the most aggressive, heavy handed push in software history, but still it's an impressive number. He also announced that 141 million users now use Cortana, bragged about this figure being larger than the user base for Amazon's Echo/Alexa devices, and continued to speak about the new features they are adding to Cortana to further drive its adoption. Surely, this is significant, because in this space recent conventional wisdom suggests Amazon is the player to beat, but let's take a closer look at what Mr. Nadella is really telling us.

141 Million monthly users means 141 million out of 500 million users use Cortana at least once a month. This means that there are 359 million Windows 10 users, or ~72%, who either don't use Cortana at all, or use it less than once a month. While Mr. Nadella is tooting Microsoft's horn on this one, it seems like it takes quite some spin to turn this number into a success story. To put things into perspective, people who use an Amazon Echo actually have to intentionally buy a separate device to do so. They know they want an assistant device, and they intentionally buy it. Cortana, on the other hand, ships with every Windows 10 install, and is just sitting there waiting to be used, sometimes even trying to persuade you to do so, and even then, they can only muster a ~28% adoption rate of people who at least use it rather infrequently. To me, this sounds less like a success story, and more like they are not meeting their potential on this front at all, especially since the numbers include not just Windows 10 PC's and Tablets, but ALL Cortana enabled devices, including Xbox, HoloLens, and even Windows 10 Mobile. With their celebrating only being 50% to plan as far as the Windows 10 install base goes, and having only a 28% adoption rate for Cortana, all this spin must be making the folks over at Microsoft quite dizzy.

That's not to say that Cortana's implementation is any worse than that of Amazon's Alexa, Google's Assistant, or Apple's Siri, but could it just be that people don't want this type of service on their computers? For me that is definitely the case. In fact, I don't care for this newfangled "assistant" trend on any of my devices. First thing I did when I installed Windows 10, was to google the registry hack to get rid of Cortana. Likewise, when I bought my Google Pixel phone, the first thing I did was to make sure that the assistant (according to Google, one of the major selling points of this phone) was completely disabled. Personally I don't want anything cloud enabled or any kind of automated assistant on my computer or any of my devices, and judging by these numbers there are lots of people out there at least slightly like me. Microsoft may have quite the uphill battle to convince users to embrace the technology on their computers, and they are going to need to tread lightly when they do so. I can't speak for everyone else, but I'm about one heavy handed strong-arm adoption tactic away from permanently erasing all Microsoft products from my computer. I can't be the only one.

Microsoft took the stage to unveil a bunch of new products that may not be as impressive as you’d like since most of them target developers, but they will probably influence the future of Windows. In this post, you’ll find all the most important announcements from Build 2017.
 

Croak

[H]ard|Gawd
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Messages
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Since the Creator's Update, I do use it more, up from near-zero usage to using it to control volume and tracks when listening to music while in bed. Which would be twice, once to see if it works, and once more when I remembered it worked on volume now.
 

Ferdjones

Limp Gawd
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Oct 5, 2004
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Personally, if it were possible to use Cortana less than never, I would do that. Since I can't figure out how to do that, I'll stick with never having used it (in fact, 99.999% of the time the microphone on my headphones is muted, so I couldn't talk to it if I wanted to) and most likely not using it in the future. If I had an assistant thingie on my phone, it is SLIGHTLY possible I would use it, though the chance of that happening approaches 0. I don't see the point, but I'm becoming an old phart, so what do I know?
 

oROEchimaru

Supreme [H]ardness
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Jun 1, 2004
Messages
4,662
I loved it early win10... then they nerfed it to strip it from most apps and it became near useless. also half the time it would produce horrible results. then they abandoned it for xbox practically and its useless there to.
 

necrosis

Gawd
Joined
Oct 21, 2004
Messages
758
I have only used voice assistants on my iPhone (other than screwing around) like once or twice because my hands were full. Never used it on my computer because it easier to just use the, you know, keyboard in front of me.

Not to mention any search in Cortana uses Bing which in my experience is garbage compared to Google.
 

J3RK

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Personally, if it were possible to use Cortana less than never, I would do that. Since I can't figure out how to do that, I'll stick with never having used it (in fact, 99.999% of the time the microphone on my headphones is muted, so I couldn't talk to it if I wanted to) and most likely not using it in the future. If I had an assistant thingie on my phone, it is SLIGHTLY possible I would use it, though the chance of that happening approaches 0. I don't see the point, but I'm becoming an old phart, so what do I know?
Couldn't have said it better.
 

Ur_Mom

I'm Not Serious
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I love Cortana. I don't ask her much, as I have Alexa for most things. I am going to look into the Cortana powered home assistant stuff from Harmon Kardon, though.

With Alexa, Siri, Cortana competing for virtual assistant, it's tough. Cortana, mostly for the stocks and daily events happening (from my calendar). Siri, make a phone call. Alexa - everything else.

It's not bad, it's got way more potential than it uses (like most Microsoft products that they eventually just abandon... Zune, Windows Phone...).
 

HeadRusch

[H]ard|Gawd
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Messages
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It's a useful feature to be walking down the street or driving in a car and hold a button down to ask a brief question of the air and see if the air can return an answer. Otherwise, its easier for me to click-open a browser and throw some keywords into the search bar and it's all done before I had a chance to figure out how I'd tailor the question to an online A.I.....

(ALso, since you're probably searching for Porn most of the time...do you really want to verbalize all those fetishes you have? Admit it.)
 

J3RK

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I love Cortana. I don't ask her much, as I have Alexa for most things. I am going to look into the Cortana powered home assistant stuff from Harmon Kardon, though.

With Alexa, Siri, Cortana competing for virtual assistant, it's tough. Cortana, mostly for the stocks and daily events happening (from my calendar). Siri, make a phone call. Alexa - everything else.

It's not bad, it's got way more potential than it uses (like most Microsoft products that they eventually just abandon... Zune, Windows Phone...).
You certainly love your disembodied, robotic women's voices don't you? :D
 

Domingo

Fully [H]
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I've never used it the way they intend because I don't have a microphone attached to my PC. For things like news pop-ups and whatnot I have the news tile essentially doing double duty. I also have a phone that does the same thing, too. I don't need to search for things on my PC because I honestly already know where everything is. I build it and customized it as such. If something is hidden, Cortana isn't going to find it any quicker than I will.

Long story short, I have a phone that does that stuff better and never leaves my side. I know where things are on my PC. I don't rock a microphone on my home PC.
 

Ur_Mom

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(ALso, since you're probably searching for Porn most of the time...do you really want to verbalize all those fetishes you have? Admit it.)
When I said "Show me pics of a naked woman, I'm in a hurry", I think she heard "I'm in a furry" and gave me those pics. What happened to civilization?

That's my problem with all the AI's. You have to word it just right. Alexa is pretty good, but needs work. I hear Google is better. Cortana isn't bad. But, like you said - it's easier to open a browser and do the work yourself. I get frustrated and start talking shit to the AI and do it myself.

Early adopters, though. It'll get better. I know Alexa is, but very very slowly. I want to try Google Home (does that use OK Google, or whatever it is?). Cortana is ok. Not great, though. They do keep improving her, though, so that's a plus. Just moving very slowly.
 

JayteeBates

[H]ard|Poof
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On my PC I find it rather useless - I mean I am sitting there with hands at keyboard and google is right there a click away. Now on my phone I like the google assistant - "Okay Google" and I ask a question as to where is such and such or say "Call so and so" and I am off and running without looking at the phone while driving.
 

BlakLanner

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Jul 28, 2016
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Things I use voice assistants for:
Hands-free dialing
Setting a GPS destination/directions

I do neither of these from my PC so why would I want something always listening at my computers? That adds the second issue: privacy. Why would I let even more companies spy on everything I say and do? I barely tolerate it from Google because of the services it provides. I trust Microsoft even less with that data.
 

dark_reign

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I disabled it after I did the free upgrade from Windows 8.1. The search function in the taskbar is all I need.
 

heatlesssun

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I use it all of the time, it's pretty quick and useful to ask reminders, web searches, opening programs.
 

Advil

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So out of the 28% who "use" it, how many were accidental clicks because they don't know how to disable the bitch?
^ yep.

Back before the rise of the online web-enabled stuff I was hopeful for the future of the personal digital "AI" assistant. But in the old days I had always assumed that this would be handled locally by a computer under your control. That the sorting and handling of your personal information would stay in a more local closed loop. This could all be done in theory. Your personal digital assistant could still do geo-fences and location based awareness of your movement habits and what you might like to be reminded about and when and it could all be done on software that never once queries servers out on the internet. Much of it could be done by only checking your GPS location and only using that information on the local device.

But never once has that occurred to anyone. There's no money in one time purchase software anymore. If they can't sell your usage patterns and personal info for profit it's not worth producing.

The whole thing is sad really. So much computing power that we each own and I don't know about everyone else but I spend far too much time figuring out how to turn features off and almost never figuring out how to turn them on. Because they aren't personal, they aren't private and they aren't about really helping me. They're just gimmicks to window dress data collection to sell.
 

M76

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I haven't even seen it once. I don't even know if it actually exists or just an urban legend.
 

Bandalo

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I used it for a couple days when Win10 was new to try it out. Not worth it IMO, I don't like talking to my computer.

I use the Amazon Alexa all the time for music around the house, and setting timers for the kitchen and reminders.
 

M76

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I use it all of the time, it's pretty quick and useful to ask reminders, web searches, opening programs.
Everything takes much longer if you need to verbalize it. Especially if the speech recognition misunderstands it.
 

J3RK

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I haven't even seen it once. I don't even know if it actually exists or just an urban legend.
I wish I could say that. However, "she" popped up once to make "her" presence know, right after an install. I must have hit a key trying to do something else, and that activated "her". "She's" filthy. Sneaking around, anticipating what someone might click on, then popping up at just the right time to intercept.
 

J3RK

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...I don't like talking to my computer.
Me either. I make it a point of principle not to talk to machines. When my wife asks Siri to set an alarm or anything like that, I immediately tell her not to talk to the filthy machines.
 

faugusztin

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Cortana is a geoblocked/language blocked feature. You can't use Cortana outside of few languages and countries.
 

odditory

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Cortana is a geoblocked/language blocked feature. You can't use Cortana outside of few languages and countries.
I've read a lot of complaints of cortana not working outside the U.S., yes.

Which is troubling considering it doesn't really work that well >in< the U.S.
 

heatlesssun

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Everything takes much longer if you need to verbalize it. Especially if the speech recognition misunderstands it.
Not necessarily. If I'm looking at a products specs and need to convert some measurements I can just say it, never take my eyes or hands from where I was and boom. If one doesn't like it or doesn't want to use it that's fine but it's certainly practical and useful technology on a PC.
 

otherweeb

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ya know, some smartass from Microsoft is gonna read these posts and think "I've got it! Let's disable the keyboard!!"
 
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