Leak Reveals Cortana Integration in Project Spartan

Posted on March 3, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0 Comments

A video leaked by tech enthusiast blog WinBeta shows off Microsoft’s prerelease web browser, code-named Project Spartan, running in an early build of Windows 10. Among the features shown is how the Cortana personal digital assistant will integrate with this new browser.

You can watch the full video on WinBeta. Here’s a rundown of what they show off, with some color commentary of my own that goes beyond just the Cortana stuff.

Clean UI. As with the Windows 10 for Mobile version we saw yesterday, Project Spartan has a nice, clean UI that even out-Chromes Chrome in this regard.


More menu. As was the case with Windows Phone previously, universal apps like Project Spartan often have a More menu, which is access via a “…” entry in the toolbar (or app bar, not sure on the naming convention yet). This item provides access to more commands, of course, commands that don’t fit easily on the stock toolbar/app bar.


Settings. One of the items in that More menu, of course, is Settings. And universal apps provide a pane-based Settings interface—localized to the app window, not the entire screen—that is similar to what we saw with Modern apps but has of course been updated with the even more stark universal app style.


Basic browser features. Not surprisingly, Project Spartan provides all the common web browser features you’d expect, including auto-complete in the address bar.


How Cortana appears. When Cortana can help with a web page you’re visiting—the site for a restaurant is used in the example in the video—you’ll see a little bouncing Cortana circle in the right of the address bara, along with the text, “I’ve got directions, hours and more” (or similar).


Cortana pane. When you click Cortana in the address bar, a Cortana pane appears in the browser window—much like the Settings pane—providing access to the familiar Cortana UI, complete with all the relevant information and links you’d expect. For a restaurant, the information Cortana provides is clearly a descendent of the Bing/Local Scout functionality from earlier Windows Phone versions.


Ask Cortana. You can also select text in a web page, right-click and then choose “Ask Cortana” to basically run a web search against the selected term. If you select a term, search results appear in the Cortana pane, of course. If it’s a single word, you’ll sometimes get a definition.



Weather. Type weather into the Spartan web browser to get weather in the drop-down, without leaving the current page.


Nothing dramatic or unexpected, but I admit to enjoying the understated Spartan UI.

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