Microsoft finally pulled the plug off Groove Music Pass earlier this week. But the retirement of Groove Music Pass is taking away a key feature of Microsoft’s Cortana smart assistant: music recognition.
As Windows Central reported earlier, Cortana can no longer identify songs due to the retirement of Groove Music Pass. The smart assistant shows an error when trying to use the music recognition feature through the dedicated button for the feature. In true Microsoft fashion, though, you can still use Cortana’s music recognition capabilities. Yep, directly asking the smart assistant “what song is this” still lets you identify currently laying songs using Cortana as can be seen from the screenshot above.
Either way, when we reached out to Microsoft, the company confirmed it’s taking away Cortana’s music recognition capabilities. Microsoft, as per usual, will be relying on third-party partners to extend Cortana’s capabilities going forward. “With the discontinuation of Groove Music Pass, music recognition functionality via Cortana was also retired. Cortana is integrated with Spotify, TuneIn, iHeart Radio, and we are working with Pandora to make their service available. Cortana’s functionality will continue to grow with new skills and capabilities through our third-party partners,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement.
Music recognition is arguably a basic feature you’d expect a smart assistant to have in 2018, but with Groove Music’s retirement, that’s no longer a thing in Cortana. Functionality wise, Cortana is falling behind Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa as both Amazon and Google continue to rapidly evolve their respective smart assistants for their smart speaker products. Microsoft, on the other hand, is expecting third-parties to extend Cortana’s capabilities through Skills, despite the fact that the lacklustre collection of Cortana’s Skills has less than 300 skills — most of which aren’t even useful. No, I did not forget to type an extra 0.