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Microsoft Cortana Beta Version Allows Direct Access To Personal Assistant Even On Locked Screens

By Mandy Adams , Jan 19, 2017 10:09 AM EST
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Android users can look forward to a more helpful Microsoft Cortana personal assistant according to the latest reports. Cortana's beta version is supposed to be available even if the phone screen is still locked. Direct access to the personal assistant will be available once a user's device wakes up.

Microsoft already made changes to Cortana back in December. The major overhaul addressed numerous issues and made the personal assistant more efficient. While Amazon Alexa remains to be the gold standard for digital assistants, Microsoft is making the necessary upgrades to Cortana to make it more attractive to users.

The latest beta version on Android phones will show the Cortana icon once the phone wakes up. From the locked screen, the user can swipe the icon to access the panel and obtain the information from Cortana. If these reports are to be believed, the user can use the personal assistant while the phone screen remains locked.

Cortana is scheduled for release in the upcoming weeks but users on the beta program are excited about the newest update that enables "Cortana on lock screen." The mechanism is quite similar to how cameras work even when the home screen is locked. There is an option to enable or disable this feature.

While this may seem to be an awesome feature, this could bring about some privacy issues. When users can summon their digital assistant without unlocking the phone anybody can request for information from Cortana. Microsoft is yet to reveal what it plans to do to avoid these issues and the level of access on a locked screen would probably be limited to only a few options. Access to sensitive information like contacts and messages could be inaccessible when the screen is lock. As noted by Greenbot, some details are still unclear about the Microsoft Cortana update and it remains to be seen if it would replace the Google Now icon on a locked screen.

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