Cortana and Microsoft Graph

It would have been easy to write off Cortana when it was first announced. After all, it was just another personal assistant, and we’d already seen that done a few times. But Cortana is Microsoft’s real link into ecosystems that are not their own, and having that presence across devices that are not running Windows is possibly one of the most important ways they can maintain that presence as the device engagement on Windows goes down. Microsoft is now connecting Windows to the Microsoft Graph, which is going to open up a lot more capabilities for developers, as well as some great features for users. If you’re not a fan of cloud connected devices, this probably isn’t for you, but some of the capabilities are very appealing.


The ability to copy and paste between devices is something that iOS and macOS users have enjoyed for some time, and now Microsoft is brining it to Windows with the ability to copy and paste “just about anything” between your PC and your phone, whether or not it is iOS or Android. That should be very well received.

Pick up where you left off

This is an interesting idea, but going to be more limited in apps that can be used, but if you log off your PC, Cortana on your phone will ask if you want to keep editing the document you were on, as an example, or maybe it’s the website you were browsing on your phone that you want to pick up on your PC. As long as this doesn’t become a bother, it could be pretty handy when you need to switch devices.


This is a very interesting use of the Microsoft Graph. With Timeline, you can go back to a visual timeline of things you were doing before, so it should be much easier to get back to a task that you hadn’t completed, or if you ever have that “what was I just working on?” moment. With File History, we can already go back to files we need to get back, but this is a backup for ideas. Very clever.

The key is Cortana, which is Microsoft’s link to other platforms. Ideas like this may encourage people to use Cortana more on their non-Windows devices, but without user buy-in, this could be an interesting set of features that don’t get much traction. The other issue is Cortana availability, which is very USA first, as with most Microsoft projects. If they want this to succeed, they need to make sure their global audience can use it, but that’s never seemed to be a priority before.

The Microsoft Graph could end up being one of the most important pieces from Microsoft, but first it needs to ship, and then it needs to work well, so for now, let’s reserve judgement.

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  • Meteor2 - Saturday, May 20, 2017 - link

    One way of thinking about it could be the amount of value created per platform (as GDP type value). While there's probably more mobile client devices around than desktops/laptops, I bet the large majority of value comes from the latter, and always will.
  • mkozakewich - Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - link

    While I was impressed by the Stream 7 and other $100 Windows devices, I do wish we had some higher-priced options. I'd love a 7" tablet with OLED, Gorilla Glass, and 4 GB of RAM.
  • BrokenCrayons - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    I know Linux is still basically a rounding error worth of installed systems, but since Windows 8 was released, the number numbers have show very slow, but steady increases. The fact that it's consistently above 2% now is pretty cool, but for those of us using it, I wouldn't bother celebrating yet. It's got a long way to go before it becomes a significant factor.
  • peevee - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    "The fact that it's consistently above 2% now is pretty cool"

    Probably the result of Chinese and Russian governments not wanting to use Windows or MacOS and switching to their domestically cooked distros of Linux.
  • Meteor2 - Saturday, May 20, 2017 - link

    Is that a thing? After all, the Russian government was hit by WannaCry.
  • versesuvius - Saturday, May 20, 2017 - link

    People grow up gaming on Windows and along the way pick up some other software which they learn and become dependent on and when they are engineers, doctors, lawyers or housewives or jobless or whatever keep on playing games and software. There is nothing that Linux does not do better than Windows except gaming. That is the whole idea of Windows and as long as Windows is a good platform for gaming the same story repeats itself ad infinitum. Unless of course Linux starts paying more attention to gaming and there is a Linux version of popular games on the market. Another thing that that plays a part in the popularity of Windows albeit not as much as the above is what the late Dennis Ritchie described as its "feeling of Snappiness". The apps do not load any faster on Windows than on Linux and Linux even loads them faster most of the time but the Windows feels snappy, so people feel that are doing something more or their time is not being wasted whereas in reality the time that Windows wastes for its users is almost equal or even more than the time that people spend time actually doing something on Windows.
  • sadsteve - Saturday, May 20, 2017 - link

    I now dual boot Windows 10 and Mint Linux. Linux definitely boots up faster for me. It's to the point where the only time I boot Windows is to play a game that's not available on Linux. l could even use Linux for work, if my company would let me, since all the tools I use are available for both OSes.
  • anactoraaron - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    So with this next major update will they finally stop this insane automatic download and install of garbage apps? Just had to refresh a pc that would no longer join my domain and watched in horror as windows automatically downloaded and installed 10+ apps. Eclipse manager, pandora, adobe express, on and on the apps kept coming. Why oh why do they do this?
  • neogodless - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    What brand computer? Was this configured by the manufacturer to do this? I've never seen this on a clean install of Windows 10. (Just one... to four... data point(s), though!)
  • Macpoedel - Saturday, May 20, 2017 - link

    I have seen this on a clean Windows install, last weekend I installed Windows 10 Pro v1703 (Creator's update) on a NUC, latest iso at that time, and it tried to install all kinds of apps from the Play Store. I don't think Intel could configure this if I brought my own iso, download from Microsoft's website. Maybe hardware manufacturers also have the capability to mark apps as "updates" even when you're using your own install media (kind of like drivers?), but I think this was Microsoft's doing.

    At first I thought this was some leftover from using the same account on a branded laptop earlier, those apps got tied to my account library and Windows 10 tries to install all of the apps in the library when you set things up. But on the other hand, I haven't setup a branded machine running the factory image since Windows 7... And also, the UWP apps that I actively have installed on other machines, didn't get installed automatically.

    So unless my girlfriend is installing those apps behind my back, Microsoft is pushing those apps on us.

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