An Open (albeit poorly-worded) Letter to Microsoft: Cortana

Dear Microsoft,

Please let Cortana use other browsers for its internet searches. Further, let us use Google, or Yahoo! Yes, we know you worked hard on Bing. It really is pretty great. But Google is better. We’ve used Google for years and we don’t want to change. Google’s knowledge graph provides loads of wonderful contextual additions to our search (and isn’t that the goal of Cortana? To provide conversationally-accessible context-aware information?) We like Edge too, but it’s just not a full browser yet. We need our adblock, our ghostery, our userscripts, our password managers. And how inconvenient is it to discover Cortana doesn’t know something by being shoved into an environment you’re not used to? Cortana’s search view is slow enough that by the time we press enter, we don’t know whether or not Cortana knows how to respond. By the time we discover that Cortana wasn’t built to answer, “What’s the tallest building in Ireland?”, it’s too late and we’re waiting for Edge and Bing to finish loading instead of Firefox and Yahoo!, or Chrome and Google, or Maxthon and Duckduckgo. Don’t try to force us into a new environment. You’ve provided us with this awesome new toy in the conversational assistant, but it’s more work to use it than to disable it if using it requires learning and getting used to an entirely new software set (Bing+Edge). I, personally, would be more than happy to ask Cortana, “Please buy me a pack of double A batteries” for a $.50 markup, but only if I don’t have to fight her constantly when searching outside her scope. It really is the path of least resistance just to disable Cortana at the moment, and that’s a damn shame. Please let us use the software we are comfortable with, and let us try your new digital assistant.

Thank you,
~Ethan B.