Cortana celebrates her second birthday as a personal assistant by adding new features

Cortana celebrates her second birthday as a personal assistant by adding new features
Blow out the candles on the cake, Cortana is now two-years old. Microsoft's virtual voice-activated personal assistant was introduced on April 2nd, 2014 at the BUILD developer conference. Cortana first appeared on Windows Phone 8.1, handling search requests and certain operations via voice. Since then, she has branched out to Windows 10, Android and iOS, and can now handle cross-platform tasks.

Recently, it was announced that Cortana will be able to keep Android users up-to-date about their notifications across various devices. The personal assistant will also help you to send texts from your PC. Other new features include the Cortana Collection, which will appear in the Windows Store. This is a series of apps recommended by the virtual personal assistant. In addition, Cortana will now make suggestions during the course of a day. She will offer to phone in a lunch order for you, or arrange a cab or other form of transportation.

While testing alongside Siri and Google Now usually results in a third-place finish for Cortana, the other two virtual personal assistants are much older and more mature than she is. It is usually considered bad form to broadcast a woman's age, but in this case we don't think that Cortana will mind. And thanks to the iOS and Android apps, and her inclusion on Windows 10 PCs, it appears that Cortana will be around for some time to come regardless of what happens to Microsoft's smartphone business.

source: MSPoweruser



1. 87186

Posts: 312; Member since: Aug 01, 2014

"While testing alongside Siri and Google Now usually results in a third-place finish for Cortana.." hm, every test I've seen out there, for the most part, has Siri in 3rd. Even when Cortana was first launched many users found her to be more accurate than Siri. Google Now edges out Cortana for searches, but not as a personal assistant.

4. TerryTerius unregistered

Google now is perfectly capable of keeping track of my meetings, bills, telling me what time I need to leave, so on and so forth. Isn't that what a personal assistant does? I haven't used Cortana in some time, so I'm curious. In what ways has she grown that outstrips Google's efforts?

7. HR_19

Posts: 103; Member since: Aug 09, 2014

One thing from when I used Cortana back when I had a Windows phone (the limits 1520, which I loved, it just didn't have the app support I wanted), is that I was able to tell it to turn Wi-Fi off every time I left or arrived my work, home, or certain friends' houses. I haven't figured out how to get Google Now to do that. And that, actually, is the most important feature for me.

8. HR_19

Posts: 103; Member since: Aug 09, 2014

The Lumia* 1520, not limits, lol.

9. TerryTerius unregistered

I'm not sure, I don't believe Google has that feature. You have to explicitly tell it to do so as far as I remember. There are plenty of automation programs and android store apps that do this sort of thing flawlessly but I don't believe that's built into Google now itself

10. vincelongman

Posts: 5810; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

I think you'd have to manually tell it to turn wifi off or on each But you can use other apps to turn wifi off or on automatically based on location or cell tower or wifi network, e.g. Tasker

12. ZetZet

Posts: 22; Member since: Apr 21, 2015

What's the point of that? Saving 1% of battery?

15. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

More personal, and the location based reminders. I can say, remind me to buy milk next time I go the store. Google now wants either a time or place, And the place has to be somewhat specific, like walmart. With Cortana, it will recognize...any store, at any time. So if I roll up into walgreens at a whim, she will be like, bro buy milk. And I can ethier, accept, cancel or differ next time in store...just in case I don't want milk right now etc. Or personal type reminders. Like ok google. Next time I talk to mom, remind me to do....this. Google once more wants time and place. Cortana - will notify me when I either call send/receive, email, text her contact, to do the notification regardless of time or location. Unless I am doing something wrong, this was tested on a 1520/LG G4 side by side

17. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

We trust you to be fair......NOT!

18. jontaylor07

Posts: 169; Member since: Oct 12, 2015

What he's saying is correct. If we were to be fair I'm sure many more things would be factored in, like age, how they look, what platforms they work on, etc. However as far as 'personal assistant' features go, Cortana is built to be a personal assistant. Google Now is made to surface information you may find helpful. Basically a preemptive web/app search. Both are great in their own way.

2. jojon

Posts: 437; Member since: Feb 11, 2014

..absolutely correct

3. Vanliewn

Posts: 65; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I'm pretty sure cortana is older than 2 considering halo came out in 2001

5. TerryTerius unregistered

Ha, funny.

6. HR_19

Posts: 103; Member since: Aug 09, 2014

The Contana personal assistant is 2 years old. The character is arguably older, but look at the Simpsons: the character Bart was created to be the age of ten, but he's been around for over 20 years. So the age of artificially created, non-corporeal things is not always objective.

13. gaming64

Posts: 234; Member since: Mar 22, 2016

The Simpsons was created in a universe where no one ages.

14. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

Well they can have all their fancy features, but as long as they only support very few languages and regions, they suck for a lot of people. Only one if the 3 that is usable in my country is Siri. And as far as I know, apple doesn't plan on bringing that to android

16. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1284; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

She is looking like a ghost..

19. mellohjello

Posts: 8; Member since: Nov 25, 2015

It has been my experience that Cortana is overall notably superior to Siri. This is from real-world, daily use, side-by side (wife has iPhone, I have Lumia 950). Google Now certainly is very good, but for everyday use that truly helps me, Cortana comes out on top. Cortana's ability to read to me incoming texts via Bluetooth headset or earbuds, AND ALLOW ME TO QUICKLY DICTATE REPLIES, is something that so far neither Siri or Google Now can do. Yes, there are add-on apps that can do similar to what Cortana can do, and some Moto phones have "Drive Mode" (which is not nearly as capable as Cortana's inherent capabilities) but Cortana's total, OS-level integration with the headsets is BY FAR superior to both Siri and Google now. Other pluses with Cortana: + Initiating texts and calls via the headset at any time (i.e. handsfree while driving, or handsfree while I'm working in the garage or out in the yard). Note that I'm saying INITIATING texts/calls/emails, not merely listening to or replying to incoming calls/messages. + Dictating quick emails into the headset as I drive. + Playing the turn-by-turn navigation instructions over headset or earbuds. + Setting reminders (time, place or person) via headset. + On-the-fly commands such as "Navigation from current location to home." + On-the-fly calls for numbers not in my contacts ("Call Lowes in Pasadena, California."). + "Open webpage for Los Angeles.", which doesn't just bring up a list of links, it actually opens the webpage so I only have to glance at the phone's display to see what I need, I don't have to scan the search results list and tap on the appropriate link. Cortana understands "Open webpage (".

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless