Cortana: Microsoft’s Answer to Siri and Google Now

When Apple launched iOS 6 with Siri, people thought that it would end up being the absolute standard in phones to have an intelligent voice assistant. Google took that expectation to heart and came out with what may have been an even better voice assistant, Google Now.

Microsoft is now entering the personal assistant market as well, with Cortana. Cortana has technically been rumored for a while after a leaked photo came out showing a phone with an app called zCortana. Since no one knew what zCortana was, few people paid attention to it. However, we now know that the application was an early version of Microsoft's new personal assistant, which will be on all Windows Phones moving forward.

Taken from Halo Video Game

The name Cortana actually comes from Microsoft's Halo series in which Cortana was an artificially intelligent character. Unlike Siri or Google Now, reports are suggesting that Microsoft wants to hard-wire Cortana into almost all of the core Windows Phone features.

Information provided by Cortana will be coming directly from the Satori knowledge base that currently powers Microsoft's Bing search engine. Not only will Cortana become an integral part of Windows Phone, it will also end up on the Windows OS and Xbox.

Early screenshots of Cortana are simplistic and only show off a basic screen with service and notifications options. However, Microsoft has stated that once Cortana goes live, it will adapt to its user, providing a unique experience and even predicting questions and answers.

It is likely that Microsoft will include the personal assistant in Windows 8.1, which is set to offer a notification center along with other UI changes. Coming Windows phones should also feature Cortana.

Battle of the Personal Assistants

Cortana is significantly different from Siri in that it does not rely on a user to input a full question...

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