Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced several exciting feature particularly for its Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 updates during its Build developers conference at San Francisco on Wednesday, April 2.
Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president and manager of Windows Phone introduced Cortana, the personal digital assistant for smartphone. According to Belfiore, Cortana has the ability to search the internet and learn about its user, and make personalized suggestions. He emphasized that users are in control with their relationship with Cortana.
Belfiore explained that Cortana learns more about the user based on his or her search activities, and by asking and confirming if he or she wants the personal digital assistant to keep track of it.
Users can interact with Cortana by touching the “hamburger button” on their Windows Phone and ask a question in a conversational manner and it will give the answer. Cortana has a notebook on the phone where it stores all the information [with permission] about the user.
Cortana is also integrated with Skype. People who own Windows Phone 8.1 devices can use Cortana to start calls using Skype easily and quickly.
According to Belfiore, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is launching Cortana as a beta because it is “training the service on the backend with lots of voice utterances to improve its speech recognition.” The software giant will eventually remove the beta tag as it expands Cortana in United Kingdom, China and other countries worldwide.
In a blog post, Marcus Ash, group manager for Windows Phone said, “Cortana’s appearance in Windows Phone 8.1 is a result of years of work from researchers, engineers and designers across Microsoft. She is a combination of advanced technology across areas like search, natural language and machine learning that Microsoft has been able to bring to life, along with a distinct personality that is inspired by one of the biggest franchises in Xbox history.”
Ash added that Cortana “has a personality and a unique sense of humor” and users will be happy to have her all the time. Actress Jen Taylor gives voice to Cortana.