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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:41 PM   #1
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Microsoft Announces Siri Competitor Cortana, Coming With Windows Phone 8.1




Microsoft today announced Windows Phone 8.1, which comes equipped with the company's digital assistant, Cortana. In development for several years, Cortana is Microsoft's answer to Siri and Google Now, the digital assistants from Apple and Google.

Cortana is named for an AI character in the popular Halo video game series and as in the game, the assistant is voiced by actress Jen Taylor. Given a distinctly female personality, she is powered by Microsoft's search engine, Bing, and is designed to learn about users by asking questions and monitoring user activity, interacting through both text and speech.

According to an extensive piece on Cortana from The Verge, Microsoft designed the feature based on real personal assistants, giving Cortana a "Notebook" to work from. The Notebook can be described as a settings page, allowing users to designate what Cortana can track. In her Notebook, Cortana stores information like personal interests, relationships with people, frequently visited places, appointment dates, quiet hours, and more.
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"It's her view of you, but clearly you can just snatch it from her at any time and say 'That's not right, I don't want you to know this' or 'I'm not comfortable with you reading my email,'" explains Ash. "So you have complete control over what she knows and she's transparent about it."

Entries in the Notebook are stored in the cloud, and you can share contact information with it, as well as your interests, home and work locations, and more. The notion of Cortana acting as a personal assistant with a notebook-- as opposed to a creepy stalker -- has been drilled into the team from the beginning, they say.
Cortana is a core function of Windows Phone 8.1, replacing the existing search function. Like Siri she can schedule reminders, but Cortana's functionality is somewhat more powerful, allowing reminders to be tied to people and locations. For example, Cortana can be asked to give a reminder to discuss a certain topic when calling a contact, with that reminder popping up when a call is placed.

The digital assistant also offers a daily summary of information, similar to what can be found in Apple's own Notification Center. Cortana lists upcoming appointments, reminders, weather information, and more. She can, with permission, track user email to pull out information like airline reservations.

Like Siri, Cortana has a personality. She has witty responses for certain questions, such as "Who is your father?" to which she replies, "Technically speaking, that'd be Bill Gates. No big deal." Displayed as a circle on a phone screen, she's also able to express 16 different emotions.

While Siri has not been opened up to developers, Microsoft is releasing a third-party SDK. Cortana will integrate with services like Hulu, Twitter, Facebook, allowing people to use voice commands to launch television shows or send a tweet.

Cortana remains in the beta stages, as there are bugs with the software that still need to be worked out. Windows Phone 8.1 will launch in late April or early May, but Cortana will only be available in the United States for the time being.

Microsoft also announced that it is making Windows licenses free for mobile phones and tablets that have screens of less than nine inches, putting it on par with Google's Android, which is offered to device manufacturers for free.

Article Link: Microsoft Announces Siri Competitor Cortana, Coming With Windows Phone 8.1
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:42 PM   #2
Kenrik
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Nice "halo" throwback with the name.
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:42 PM   #3
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Very exotic-sounding name. When I hear 'Cortana', I envision an Amazonian woman wearing leopard skin around her hips with large juicy breasts.

CORRRR-TANA!!
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:43 PM   #4
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Satya Nadella trying to clean up the mess and doing what should've been done years ago so Microsoft had something to compete with.
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:43 PM   #5
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Oh hai, Microsoft! Welcome to 2011!
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:43 PM   #6
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Hoping this would say Microsoft announces Office 2014 for Mac.
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:43 PM   #7
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I just wish they'd get rid of Siri all together. I was probably one of the first people to turn it off on the iphone 4S.
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by PBF View Post
What kinda name is this?
Did you read the article?
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Cortana is named for an AI character in the popular Halo video game series and as in the game, the assistant is voiced by actress Jen Taylor.
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:45 PM   #9
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I know this is a very minor thing to point out, but I think Cortana, just to say is 1 syllable too long, and as insignificant as this sounds, I think that matters with a name that is meant to be "catchy"
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:45 PM   #10
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I wonder how accurate and fast it will be.. I'm still amazed sometimes at how fast and accurate Google Now can be.
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:46 PM   #11
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This all sounds amazing. I love the whole notebook idea.

I'm not sure whether it's a good idea to name it after the AI from Halo though... it's a really awkward name to say (3 syllables and 7 letters versus 1 and 3 for Google's Now or 2 and 4 for Apple's Siri), plus there's a lot of adult material out there starring Cortana.
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:46 PM   #12
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Hope they still let developers integrate their apps with it, like the original in Windows Phone. LOVE it, love it, love it. I wish Siri worked like that.
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:46 PM   #13
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This will probably put Siri in third place.
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:47 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by locoboi187 View Post
Satya Nadella trying to clean up the mess and doing what should've been done years ago so Microsoft had something to compete with.
He's got a mess to clean up for sure, but Cortana has been in development for a while.
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:47 PM   #15
ghostface147
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I like the name. This also puts Siri in third place in my opinion.
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:48 PM   #16
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i'm an apple guy but it's hard not to have a crush on cortana. if they could make her appear...yum.

nice move on their part...with this and with the free windows. finally...someone is thinking over there. at least they didn't copy apple like crazy with their mobile os.
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:49 PM   #17
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That's great, except built into the halo story arc is a very defined period where Cortana goes pretty nutty.
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:49 PM   #18
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Could Microsoft become "cooler" than Apple in the future?

Last edited by PBF; Apr 2, 2014 at 07:53 PM.
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:49 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by MattMJB0188 View Post
I just wish they'd get rid of Siri all together. I was probably one of the first people to turn it off on the iphone 4S.
I love Siri, I find it to be very useful in my day to day activities.

Cortana looks pretty awesome, I can't wait to try it out. I never switched to Android because they don't have a decent personal assistant like Siri, and still don't. Windows phone is looking pretty enticing these days and may get me off of iOS after all these years.
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:50 PM   #20
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Windows PHONE 8.1

Could this summary of The Verge's review be a little less confusing by replacing "Windows 8.1" with "Windows Phone 8.1?"

They really are two different products and of course criticism that they're so close as to be easily confused is valid.

Adding Cortana to Windows 8.1 would probably interest some, alienate others, but I haven't read where it's been officially suggested.
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:50 PM   #21
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Well, let's hope Siri has a major overhaul on the horizon in iOS8!
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:51 PM   #22
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I just wish they'd get rid of Siri all together. I was probably one of the first people to turn it off on the iphone 4S.
If you can just turn it off, why do you care that other people have Siri on their phones?
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:52 PM   #23
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You're complaining about the number of syllables in the AI's name?

You know, you don't actually have to say its name after you press the button...
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:53 PM   #24
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Hopefully MS fixed the rampancy bug
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Old Apr 2, 2014, 02:54 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by KieranDotW View Post
If you can just turn it off, why do you care that other people have Siri on their phones?
Its just a waste of space. Isn't it still in beta after all these years?
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