Meet Cortana in an up-close video

Meet Cortana in an up-close video
One glaring gap between Windows Phone and iOS and Android, is that the latter two mobile platforms have had a “digital” assistant for some time now. Windows Phone had some voice recognition features, but nothing that would remind you to ask about your relative’s new puppy the next time you talk to him or her.

Once Windows Phone 8.1 rolls out commercially, that will no longer be the case now that Cortana is going to be on the scene. Comparing Cortana with Google Now or Siri is certainly valid, a lot of functionality overlaps.

Cortana really shines in how it can interact and execute tasks on third party applications. It also allows you to direct how much insight it may have into your information and behavior. Assuming that you give Cortana free rein to do what it is designed to do, it will be able to provide granular reminders of things to do based on where you are, or who you are in contact with.

We got to spend some time with one of the Principal Program Managers from Microsoft that worked on the Cortana team, specifically the experiential elements which are highly complex. Not only did the team have to ensure smooth interface with Bing and third party apps, but they added subtle personality traits, making Cortana seem less robotic.

Cortana will be released with Windows Phone 8.1 in beta while Microsoft irons out the nuances that can only be encountered by real-world use. Once Cortana is ready to expand out of North America, the beta tag will be removed. We note that because even in our basic demo and discussion below, there was a small hiccup. Given how noisy it was though, we are pretty confident that Cortana will indeed impress you when it (she) finds itself (herself) on your Windows Phone.



1. papss unregistered

Who's your daddy? Bill Gates but no big deal.. lol love that one

2. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Cortana is looking nicer every time I see it. Ok Google...dont fall asleep at the wheel. Google Now was already better than Siri overall. The real competition might be between Cortana and Google Now. There is an advantage to coming to the party last....seeing what the competition is doing and trying to match or surpass it.

5. Carlitos

Posts: 680; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

I doubt Google will fall asleep. Google now has its claws so deep into Android that it is Android now. Which basically allows it to do anything. And I love googles non robotic voice compared to siri. I'm excited to see what Google brings at its I\O. This is a competition between Google now and Cortana

7. sgodsell

Posts: 7521; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I notice you have to press the button for each response. For Google now its always listening, so you have the choice of pressing the button or saying a phrase to start the search "OK Google now".

23. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

True, but this is still in beta. Always-on advanced voice command recognition may be on the final release. Probably uses less battery this way though.

3. zibbyzib2000

Posts: 221; Member since: Nov 18, 2010

It sounds NOTHING like the actual Cortana :(

8. papss unregistered

Not for now but I read a report that it will be the same voice once it leaves the bata

18. iyngr

Posts: 72; Member since: Jul 14, 2013


15. bon24x7

Posts: 211; Member since: Aug 30, 2012

4. Ignited

Posts: 8; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

While I do really think Microsoft did a good job at Cortana and it's 8.1 rollout. I was only hoping to have the real Cortana to talk to me. What great memories it would bring! But also even having her picture and the talking from her on the screen would have just made Cortana the best by leaps and bounds!

6. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Halo fan!!!! BOOO!! :-) This reminds me.....I need to play some Halo again soon....get it off my backlog. Get them off my backlog.

16. bon24x7

Posts: 211; Member since: Aug 30, 2012

10. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

Now for an Always On Cortana that you can speak to without touching the phone.

11. marbovo

Posts: 658; Member since: May 16, 2013

ok, so ms will know everything you do on your device including reading your e-mails, whats up with scroogle campaing now?!

17. bon24x7

Posts: 211; Member since: Aug 30, 2012

Hey can turn that feature OFF if you don't want it to..Microsoft gives you the option..they do it with your permission unlike the big G!

22. marbovo

Posts: 658; Member since: May 16, 2013

Big G also give me the choise to opt-in or out too, once again, whats up with scroogle campaing now?!

25. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Exactly. Even with GMail. The Scroogled campaign is looking more n more like a complete waste of time and money.

26. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

And I dont think Google Now can read your email...interesting... I can say check my gmail and the app opens...but thats it. I wonder if Google will update Google Now to read emails....hmmmm. I can tell it to open apps and it does that....didnt even realize that was possible.

27. marbovo

Posts: 658; Member since: May 16, 2013

Actually google read our mails to place "smart ads", don't know if they use it for anything else, but they are planning to do this

24. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

You have to opt-in for her to read your emails, and also which email accounts, e.g. able to block from reading a personal account used for activities one wouldn't share with friends or coworkers, but able to read a personal account used to communicate with those friends, as well as the work email account.

21. deewinc

Posts: 455; Member since: Feb 21, 2013


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