Meet “Cortana,” Microsoft’s Answer To Siri

Rumors are circulating that Microsoft will be launching a virtual assistant for Windows Phones similar to Apple’s Siri and Android’s Google Now.

Microsoft’s rumored virtual assistant for Windows phones, Cortana, named after the artificially intelligent character in Xbox’s Halo game, will respond to voice commands like Siri, but it will also learn and tailor its notifications and responses based on data in your phone. This functionality is similar to Google Now, which adapts and feeds you information by looking at your email, calendar, location, and current weather conditions.

Cortana in "Halo"

A July memo from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who will retire soon, hints at the new technology, saying the new UI will be “deeply personalized, based on the advanced, almost magical, intelligence in our cloud that learns … and will be great at responding seamlessly to what people ask for, and even anticipating what they need before they ask for it.”

It makes sense for Microsoft to add a virtual assistant to keep up with Apple and Android, but it may not be available until 2014-2016, according to ZDnet, and the features seem similar to products already available. Unlike Siri or Google Now, however, Cortana the Halo character has a face … and sex appeal. We just hope no one falls in love with her.

[Image: Flickr user commorancy]

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