Microsoft Build 2019 has officially kicked off, and while the event is aimed primarily at developers, it's also given us an exciting look at the future of Windows and Microsoft products. The Seattle tech giant but a big emphasis this year on bringing services like Edge and Xbox Live to more platforms, and showed off some big upgrades for its virtual assistant Cortana.
Here are the 5 biggest announcements from Microsoft Build 2019.
New Microsoft Edge Gets Internet Explorer Mode, macOS Support
Microsoft's new and improved Chromium-based Edge browser seems to just keep getting better. At Build, Microsoft revealed that the new Edge will have a baked-in Internet Explorer mode built specifically for business that rely on IE for specific tasks (that should mean way less browser-hopping). Perhaps more importantly, Microsoft plans to bring the new Edge to as many platforms as possible -- including macOS.
Cortana Gets Conversational
At Build 2019, the company showed off how it plans to make your conversations with its Cortana virtual assistant more natural. In a demo, the company showed how the AI can do things like suggest an optimal meeting location and provide weather and traffic information, all during a natural back-and-forth that didn't require the user to constantly re-summon Cortana. We're not sure when this update is coming, but it looks promising.
Fluid Framework Makes Collaboration Easier
Fluid Framework is a new platform that seems perfect for offices that frequently collaborate on text documents or presentations. The technology lets multiple users work on documents across both the web and mobile and desktop apps, which could bring Google Docs-like smoothness to Microsoft's Office 365 suite of products.
Minecraft Goes... Pokemon Go?
At the very end of Microsoft's build keynote, Microsoft teased what could be an augmented reality version of its wildly popular Minecraft game (a la Pokemon Go). The teaser was light on details, but Microsoft promises to show more on May 17.
ElectionGuard Wants to Protect Your Vote
Microsoft is taking voter security seriously. The company announced its new ElectionGuard software development kit, which can protect digital voting booths by giving each voter a unique code to track their decision throughout the process. Microsoft plans to make the service ready by the 2020 election, and already has partnerships in place with key election tech suppliers.
Xbox Live Goes Beyond Xbox
Xbox has been talking about his plans to bring Xbox Live to new platforms for a while now, and we're finally getting some concrete examples of that happening. Microsoft's live gaming service has officially come to mobile titles such as Asphalt 9, Asphalt 8 and Dragon Mania Legends, meaning you can use your Xbox Live account and rack up gamerscore on your iOS or Android devices.