Microsoft Announces Cortana Personal Assistant Beta

Microsoft Cortana

At its developer even Build 2014 in San Francisco today Microsoft has announced their virtual personal assistant Cortana for Windows Phone 8.1. They had uploaded a video of Cortana being compared with Siri which we posted earlier. The service has got some of Siri’s humor, gets its knowledge from Microsoft’s Bing and will come built-in with Windows Phone 8.1. As a starting point Cortana will be shipped with the devices which comes with pre-installed Windows Phone 8.1, this includes the devices which were announced recently, Lumia 630 & 635 and then Lumia 930. Later Cortana will be rolled out to the existing users over the coming months.

According to Microsoft, Cortana will replace the search function on Windows Phone entirely and will ask you “What’s on your mind?” at the launch. You can both use voice or typed text to requesting something from Cortana. As a personal assistant, Cortana can schedule appointments, remind you of calendar appointments and lots of other things, but as Microsoft noted, one of the most exciting features of Cortana is that third-party apps can tap into it, as well. A user can address those apps by name and ask it to perform an action (“Skype, call Alex”).

Microsoft has partnered with Facebook to build Cortana’s features into the latest version of Facebook app for Windows Phone. Cortana can also read the the email on your phone and recognize items like flight schedules and other reservations by itself and asks you to combine trips if two or more of your schedules overlaps.

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