Review of Microsoft’s Cortana, Planned Rival to Apple’s Siri

Microsoft Cortana (Information Week)
Microsoft Cortana (Information Week)

Microsoft released a developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1, which includes the personal assistant Cortana, a Siri rival.

Windows Phone 8.1 developer preview is now available to practically anyone who is interested in it. Microsoft added a wide range of features to the mobile operating system, including Cortana, what Microsoft calls a personal assistant. Cortana is being released under the protective beta banner, but that doesn’t mean Cortana isn’t ready for some serious testing.

Microsoft representative Greg Sullivan said that Cortana evolved from its Halo video game. In fact, Microsoft brought back the actor who voiced the Halo assistant to add more language and responses to Cortana. The company’s vision for Cortana is that will be as helpful to Windows Phone owners as a real-life assistant would be. The company went so far as to interview actual assistants and ask them to reveal the secrets that make for great assistants. For starters, real assistants take notes.

Cortana takes notes, too. When it’s first launched, Cortana asks a handful of questions to give it a slightly better idea about the owner’s general interests and preferences. Cortana adds to its notebook over time, which represents how deeply Cortana learns and can apply that learning to actual task management.

Cortana is built atop Microsoft’s Bing search engine. That means Bing is always close by, though Microsoft insists Cortana does more than just initiate web searches. Cortana can be used to set reminders, schedule calendar appointments, dictate messages, and prevent intrusive calls.

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SOURCE: Eric Zeman 
Information Week

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