Microsoft Introduces Its Own Siri—Cortana

Last Updated: March 3, 2014


When Windows Phone users get the upcoming 8.1 update, the Bing search feature will be replaced by a personal digital assistant similar to Apple’s Siri. Its name? Cortana.

Although this feature is named after the AI from the Halo series, Cortana doesn’t share her appearance, but instead appears as a circle, with speaking/thinking animations. On the other hand, there are rumors that the Halo voice actor for Cortana will provide the voice of this Cortana as well. You can customize how Cortana addresses you, whether you want it to use your name or call you by a nickname. You can also make sure it pronounces your name correctly.

Cortana will use a Notebook feature to store and access data, and you can choose to let it keep track of information from your emails, as well. It also will use data from services like Bing and Foursquare. In this way, it acts as a combination of Siri and Google Now.

Xbox One players are hopeful Cortana will be used in conjunction with the Kinect’s voice recognition features, and that it could be used to set up and navigate the console. While Microsoft hasn’t said anything about such a plan, this would fit with their goal of allowing players to connect all of their media with the Xbox One.

We can’t be sure that Microsoft is going to keep the name Cortana for the finished product, although that would certainly be cool. We’ll let you know as soon as we learn more. In the meantime, check out some of these shots of Cortana in action, including the line, “I’m absorbing the entire internet. Won’t take long now,” which suggests a sense of humor and playfulness behind this feature.

Thanks, The Verge.