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.

Fluent Design Windows Store and UWP Updates
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  • close - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    I'd guess you're not using Enterprise. The "test this app" experience might be MS's way of steering businesses towards Enterprise rather than Pro.
  • Sivar - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    I suspect the downloads are done by some third-party software.
  • SaolDan - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    I second this
  • close - Saturday, May 20, 2017 - link

    It's actually something MS included as "a feature". The content delivery manager with the pre-installed apps option. You can disable this in registry or local policy.

    As far as I know it comes in the Pro versions although some older MSDN Windows Enterprise ISOs came with it enables. I guess MS received enough feedback from enterprises to cut the crap so now they just try it on regular customers.
  • blakflag - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    I would love it if all my apps could be fetched through the store. The problem is most of them are NOT UWP, and created by small developers (utilities and such). Hopefully MS has made it really easy to get apps into the store, because otherwise most of my apps will never be there.
  • Meteor2 - Saturday, May 20, 2017 - link

    I probable have 4-5 programmes beyond Chrome and Office, all but one open source, and none came through the app store. The App Store itself is mainly full of junk.
  • blakflag - Sunday, May 21, 2017 - link

    Yeah I know it is. I just wish it weren't. :) I actually find Chocolatey to be pretty useful for open source stuff, although I worry a lot about someone uploading a trojan package since it's much newer and less popular than Ubuntu repository for instance.
  • blakflag - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    The Linux subsystem is truly amazing stuff, and I already find it useful. Unfortunately there is no GPU-acceleration which is a buzzkill for me. Trying to learn machine learning techniques on Windows is really painful since the library support is not so great.
  • Eden-K121D - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    I really hope they follow through Fluent design language,Wide Color gamut, and HDR support.
    I really don't want my 2017 computer run a UI which looks horrible
  • BrokenCrayons - Friday, May 19, 2017 - link

    I see no point in messing with Linux inside of Windows when I can simply use Linux atop bare metal and get the distro I want the way I prefer to use it. As well, I don't have to deal with always-on, Google-levels-of-creepy Cortana lurking and listening or non-removable OneDrive. The visual activity history is nice, but I'd hope it can be totally disabled. Knowing how MS works these days, probably not and it's likely part of their data mining efforts as they play catchup with Alphabet and others.

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