Microsoft will separate the Windows Search functionality from its digital assistant Cortana. The company coupled both features in Windows 10. By separating them it should be easier to develop new functionality for both Windows 10 features.
In the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview, both features are already separated. In that Windows version, clicking the search box in the taskbar will allow users to search for files and folders on the computer. Clicking a Cortana icon next to the search bar opens the digital assistant. Besides the functionality, also the settings for Search and Cortana are separated.
Decoupling both features should make it easier for Microsoft to further develop each Windows component. However, the company has not provided any information on its future plans for both features.
Cortana isn’t the success Microsoft hoped for. The digital assistant was introduced almost 5 years ago and was marketed as an important feature of Windows 10. Five years later it has lost the competition from digital assistants as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Both assistants work on much more devices than Cortana.
The changes are now in Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 18317 (19H1) which means it will likely come in the large upcoming Windows 10 Update code named 19H1. This update is scheduled for release this spring.