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Interacting with your Xbox One is going to be changing in the coming year, starting with the introduction of the new “Xbox One Experience” and continuing sometime in 2016 with the inclusion of your own virtual assistant, Cortana.
Not only are more folks receiving invites to check out the beta for the new Xbox One firmware, but Microsoft is gearing up to introduce the Xbox Beta App for Windows 10, too. As for the highly anticipated Cortana implementation, though, the latest announcement has it pegged as arriving sometime next year. Sure, it's a bit of a bummer that we're still waiting for this ambitious new feature but, really, I'd rather them get it right than rush it.
If you're not familiar with Cortana (named for the AI in the Halo series), it's kind of like Scarlet Johansson's character in the movie Her. She'll remind you to pick up things from the grocery store or warn you of traffic delays if you've got her downloaded on your phone, or just help you interact with and stay connected with friends on your Xbox One. Want to play Forza but fear you might forget about that Raid you've got scheduled in Destiny in an hour? Get to enjoying yourself and Cortana will remind you in plenty of time.
Helpful assistant or yet another way for mankind to slip further and further into laziness? It doesn't matter, because Cortana sounds rad.
As for that new Xbox One Experience Cortana will help you navigate, the Major Nelson blog claims it's going to be worth the wait.
As we've been doing for almost two years, we're sharing early builds with our fans, so that they can try out and provide input on new features. We welcomed a limited group of preview members into an early peek at the reimagined Xbox One a few weeks ago. This weekend, we'll be inviting in more.
But while Cortana won't be an official part of the experience until next year, the report goes on to state that the current plan is to plug her into builds of the new Xbox One experience sometime later this year, so keep your eye out for hands-on impressions from members of the community.
As for that Xbox Beta app for Windows 10, a bunch of new functionality got plugged in over the weekend, too. For starters, Party text chat joins the already implemented voice chat to give players yet anther way to communicate when they're away from their console. You can also read and reply to messages directly from notifications now, as well as receive activity alerts. Finally, you now have access to a menu that shows off your latest sharable content (like Achievements and recorded clips), making it easier than ever to send them out to social media.