Window’s Cortana wants to help you

Siri-like program aims to organize.

Every person needs assistance in some form, whether it be from setting an alarm, to writing down important dates on a calendar. To some people, that would mean having a personal assistant to learn about you, the topics you care about, and your day-to-day routines. Getting your own personal assistant will be easy now for Windows Phone owners, as Cortana is on her way to save the day.

As the Artificial Intelligence who famously helped Master Chief in the popular first- person-shooter Halo save the universe, Cortana has a vast amount of experience behind her ready to bring forward. Her 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,” Marcus Ash, Windows Phone group program manager, said during a press conference.

To add to the excitement, Jen Taylor, the voice of the Cortana character in the Halo series, will voice the program as well.

True to her form in the game, Cortana begins learning about you from the first moment you begin to speak to her. From then on, she stores information and uses it to make recommendations or suggestions that will be tailored to your needs. Like a real-life assistant, her biggest strength lies in her ability to adapt and predict your needs. A great example of this is for travel. Cortana knows when you’re planning to travel. She’ll track your flight, advise you when to leave early due to bad traffic, inform you of the weather at your destination, and keep you up-to-date on developments.

Cortana is quite similar to Apple’s personal assistant Siri, but it seems to be an improved version, capable of even more, and will provide great competition to Apple users. It can also be used as your personal assistant without ever having to speak commands, by entering searches and commands in the keyboard in those quiet environments. It seems as though Microsoft took its time to produce Cortana and looked at what made Siri successful and what did not work to provide its users the best possible service.

Windows Phone 8.1 will be available on new devices in late April and early May, and will be spread to some of the older, compatible devices.

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