About two years ago, when I first scooped that Microsoft was going to include Cortana as an integral part of Windows 10, at that time, I had been told that the digital assistant was going to live in the system tray. But, as we all know, Cortana currently lives on the taskbar but that may be about to change.
Part of the reason why it was moved to the taskbar is that it would put it closer to the Start button and improve discoverability. But, with it being on the taskbar, it also needed to have the option of being removed which is a problem for Microsoft.
The company loves to tell you that usage of Cortana is very high but the reality is that it’s not as rosy as it may seem. If you hit the Windows key and search, you are now a Cortana MAU (monthly active user); use edge and Cortana pops up in the URL bar, welcome to the MAU club. Further, many users are simply removing Cortana from the taskbar but to remediate this issue, Microsoft will move the digital assistant.
Cortana, like its original mockups, is currently being tested living inside the system tray. The company is placing it near the clock and action center icons and is also introducing a new UI that is conversation-like, according to sources familiar with the product.
The UI and features are in the early stages of development and if you ask Cortana a question, it will open on the right side of the screen from the taskbar. Further, it will prompt with smart reply suggestions like Google Allo for when you need to interact with the assistant.
As with ever early implementation of a new feature in Windows 10, this could be cut before being released and may change dramatically before arriving to Insiders. But, know that Microsoft is actively working on a new implementation of Cortana and it’s currently looking like the system tray will be the new home.