Microsoft’s BUILD 2014 developer conference in San Francisco was the place to be Wednesday, as the company unveiled a slew of great features for Windows devices. The Windows 8.1 rollout was the center piece of the show, but all eyes were on the personal digital assistant for Windows Phone 8.1, Cortana.
If Apple has its Siri, and Android its Google Now, Windows is getting its very own sexy assistant, Cortana, who gets her name from the AI character in the Halo video game series. Jen Taylor the voice actress in Halo will be lending her talents to this digital assistant as well.
Spend a little time telling Cortana about your interests and she will soon be assisting you with a horde of information on the weather, the sports scores, the traffic situation, things that you need to discuss with your clients, stuff that you need to be reminded of and more. Cortana will observe your browsing patterns, your general phone usage and together with your personal input arrive at smart sensible suggestions that will be stored in a cloud based “notebook” that will be totally under your control.
Cortana is said to be inspired by real personal assistants, so she should work like one. For instance, silencing your calls and notifications when you are in a meeting, advising when to depart for a flight based on the traffic conditions, reminding you to wish or congratulate someone on a special occasion when you are talking to them, and even planning your day for you from start to finish is just some of the things she can assist you with.
Cortana is designed to speak to you as you would when you’re having a normal conversation. She is ever ready to chat to you about herself, her likes and dislikes, her life, what she does in her time off; you could even ask her a few good Halo 4 wining tips if you like. But she is also just as happy to stay quiet when you prefer to let your fingers do the talking.
Cortana will be powered by Bing and will be integrated into Skype and other Microsoft apps, but third party developers will also be able to integrate Cortana into their services.
The service will be rolling out with the Windows 8.1 update, which should happen sometime this summer (May or June) in the U.S. U.K and China should see the update happening in the second half of this year while the rest of the world is likely to say hello to Cortana only in 2015. If you are picking up a new Windows device, Cortana and Windows 8.1 will come pre-installed on them.
Are you looking forward to interacting with Cortana? And do you believe she will be the true personal assistant you’ve been searching for all your life?