Microsoft Unveils Cortana for Windows Phone 8.1

Cortana is a voice-controlled app that uses both, the data stored on the Windows phones handsets and Microsoft’s search engine Bing to carry out tasks and make personalized recommendations.

Joe Belfiore, Windows Phone chief, unveiled the female-voiced Cortana at the Microsoft’s Build developers conference, in San Francisco.

Initially, it will be available in the markets of US, next in UK and China, and as a Windows Phone 8.1 system software update, it will finally reach the other markets worldwide.

“Powered by Bing, Cortana is the only digital assistant that gets to know you, builds a relationship that you can trust, and gets better over time by asking questions based on your behavior and checking in with you before she assumes you’re interested in something. She detects and monitors the stuff you care about, looks out for you throughout the day, and helps filter out the noise so you can focus on what matters to you. Cortana will launch shortly here in the U.S. first as a “beta,” and then will launch in the US, the U.K. and China in the second half of 2014 with other countries to follow afterwards into 2015.” says Joe Belfiore.

You reach Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1 by using the search button or the Live Tile on your Start screen. Upon reaching Cortana Home, you can either type or speak to interact with Cortana. She starts learning about the user from its first interaction, for instance, your name, how to pronounce your name, your personal interests, etc.. Once she learns about you, “Cortana’s home populates with information that is curated just for you.” You will even see the traffic information, once she learns your routes and commute routine.

Everything that Cortana curates for the user is stored in Cortana’s Notebook and she responds accordingly. Microsoft explains, “...she’ll let me know if my upcoming flight back to Seattle is on time and, if I choose, will even pop-up to recommend what time I should leave for the airport based on traffic. Cortana can also manage your phone when you don’t want to be disturbed by setting quiet hours where she will silence any notifications, in-coming calls, and texts. Cortana understands the “inner circle” of people-closest-to-you, and she can let them break through at any time during quiet hours. And Cortana is the only digital assistant that lets you setup people reminders. You can have Cortana remind you that your buddy owes you $20 the next time you talk to him. And ALL of these interests and preferences are under YOUR CONTROL via Cortana’s notebook.”

Cortana has the capability of interacting with the 3rd Party Apps that are installed on your phone. Which means she can help you in looking up some news on Facebook, make a video call in Skype etc.. Cortana has a personality and does not only return search results, you need to talk to her to know about her, more.

"The point is the user is in control of his or her relationship with Cortana," says Joe Belfiore.

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