Project Spartan leaked: Here's how Cortana will work in Microsoft's new browser

Brace yourselves: The Clippy jokes are coming.

It looks like you're viewing a restaurant's website. Would you like help?

More than a decade after burying Clippy, we're seeing echoes of the virtual assistant in Project Spartan, the lightweight new browser Microsoft is building for Windows 10. Cortana is going to be a centerpiece in Spartan, but unlike her anthropomorphic paperclip ancestor, she actually seems useful.

In a leaked build obtained by WinBeta, Cortana appears as a text prompt on the far right side of the address bar, offering extra information as you visit certain types of websites. For instance, going to a restaurant's home page will bring up a message, reading "I've got directions, hours, and more." Clicking the message brings up a sidebar with the restaurant's contact information, location, reviews and an OpenTable reservation link.

Cortana can also help out with words and phrases on any web page. Right clicking on a text selection shows an "Ask Cortana" option in the context menu, bringing up a sidebar with definitions and other information sourced from Bing.

While not explicitly a Cortana feature, the browser will also be able to show certain types of information straight from the URL/search bar. For example, if you start typing "weather," the local forecast will appear before you've even completed the word.

The current Windows 10 preview build doesn't include Project Spartan, though its Edge rendering engine is available in Internet Explorer. Spartan is reportedly on track for the next preview build, which should arrive some time this month.

Why this matters: Although Microsoft announced Cortana as a Spartan feature back in January, details have been slim on how the virtual assistant would actually work. What we're seeing so far is basically a way to get Bing's knowledge engine in front of more users, even if they rely on Google for searches. Microsoft must know it walks a fine line between being helpful and being a nuisance, so hopefully Cortana will stay out of the way when it's not able to offer anything of value.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftbrowserssoftwareapplicationsbingcortanaOpenTableWindows 10

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?