Microsoft Introduces “Cortana” Voice Control

The past couple of years, Apple led the way with personal smartphone assistants, when they released Siri on the iPhone 4S in 2011. Now, Microsoft has stepped up to the challenge with their own personal smartphone assistant, Cortana.

Cortana was developed for the Windows Phone 8.1, and Windows 10. Unlike Siri, which is powered by Google, Cortana uses the Bing search engine to conduct searches that are requested. Cortana also keeps track of the things that interest you, making it easy to make suggestions similar to your past searches, it helps you to remember meetings and appointments by alerting you whenever you have a scheduled appointment on your calendar.

Unlike other personal smartphone assistants, Cortana is always trying to learn more about you. Like a real personal assistant, Cortana records everything that you are interested in, into her notebook, which is where your personal information and contacts are stored for Cortana to access. Cortana asks you questions along the way, which allows her to tailor her suggestions more to your preferences, like a real personal assistant would.

Cortana also makes sure that you stick to your schedule, by alerting you about important things like your flight information, scheduled meetings, and even let you know if you are scheduled to work out on a specific day, and helps you to reschedule, if you are unable to keep an appointment or gym session. Cortana also helps with little things, like giving reminders to leave home early due to traffic, or pick up something on your way back home.

Cortana is the only smartphone personal assistant that can also give you reminders about things that you need to do when you talk to people on your contact list. It can remind you to wish your mom a happy birthday, and send her a card, or it can remind you to collect something you want to borrow or borrowed a friend.

It can also be used for a lot of miscellaneous activities, she can be used to convert different currencies, including Bitcoins, it can predict the outcomes of different sporting events, and even correctly predicted the outcome of the first 14 matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup elimination stage. You can even chat with Cortana like you would with a real person, but don’t be surprised if she’s funnier than some of your friends.

Cortana is available in seven different languages, and is expected to be available in more languages in the immediate future. Once you give her a try, you will realize why so many people are excited about having a personal assistant that blows the competition out of the water.

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