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Windows Phone 8.1 to Feature Cortana: A Siri like Voice Assistant

March 4th, 2014 by

Just like the wearables are the hot talk of the tech town in 2014, voice assistants were what everyone spoke about back in 2012 or 2013. With Siri and then Google Voice, 2012/13 was all about making friends with your mobile devices, talking to them, asking them weather just ’cause it could tell you and maybe every once in a while extracting something useful from them. However, with that train pretty much passed, Windows Phone was a passenger which was left behind and is set to board it now, with their Windows Phone 8.1 Update.

Cartona-creative.jpgIt is well documented that the Windows Phone 8.1 update is set to bring a plethora of new features and fixes. Some of the most talked about ones have been the ability to add wallpapers to the desktop, a dedicated notification center, support for on screen navigation keys and more. The update is set to roll out sometime in spring this year, if Microsoft’s word is to go by.

However, one feature that seems to have escaped big mouth of the rumor spreaders in the tech world initially is a native voice assistant called Cortana that will very much be one of the talking points of Windows Phone 8.1 update.

What do we know about Cortana from leaks?

The Verge has published a report about Cortana, saying that the Voice assistant would be “replacing the built-in Bing search functionality on Windows Phone 8.1. While the feature is named after the Halo game series, Cortana will take the form of a circular animated icon instead of a female character. Cortana will animate when it’s speaking or thinking, forming a personality not dissimilar to Apple’s Siri.”

CartonaIf the report is to be believed, then Cortana would have the ability to call you by your nickname or any other name you would want it to by enabling the same in Settings menu. Another interesting feature of Cortana is the Notebook which will encompass all your location history, reminder information, personal data it picks from your usage etc, a bit like how both Siri and Google Now work.cortanasettingsYou can obviously turn the voice assistant off or on, which is clear from the leaked screenshot. This means that in case, you do turn the Assistant off, you would have the Bing Search appear like normal in Windows Phone 8.1 as it was in Windows Phone 8. However, unlike Google Now, Cortana will have to depend upon Bing and likes of Foursquare for it’s contextual data powers unlike Google Now which has Google’s humungous collection of data to support it. The consolation though is that Siri pretty much uses the Bing database and you dont really hear people complain about that much.

There have also been rumors that Microsoft might want to try out something very similar on their upcoming notebooks too by bundling a Voice Assistant with the next Windows Update. Whether that happens or not, remains to be seen, but for now, users of Windows Phone 8, have yet another new cool reason to look forth to the Windows Phone 8.1 Update.

Source: The Verge

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