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March 3, 2014

Microsoft’s Cortana is more transparent than Siri and Google Now

Virtual assistant will allow data access customisation.

By Ben Sullivan

Microsoft’s incoming Windows Phone 8.1 update will introduce a personal virtual assistant to devices, much like Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Now which is found on Nexus devices.

‘Cortana’, named after the fictional hologram assistant found in the Halo series of video games released on Microsoft’s Xbox family, uses Bing’s search capability and allows voice-activated searching, note taking and reminders. Unlike Halo’s Cortana though, 8.1’s version manifests itself as a blue circle icon instead of a semi-transparent woman.

The Notebook function on Cortana differs itself from Siri and Google Now in one major way, however, and that is by offering transparency to what information the assistant has access to on your device and cloud services. Users can manually select exactly what information is made available to Cortana from the menu.

The Verge was given privy to the insider knowledge courtesy of close sources, and those sources say Cortana will allow users to set what they want to be named by the assistant.

The Notebook functionality will give Cortana access to data like location information, internet behaviour, personal information, and it will act in similar ways to Google Now by providing notifications of relevant events and searches.


Photo: The Verge

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The Verge said "Cortana will be backed by data from services like Bing, Foursquare, and others to give it some of the contextual power of Google Now."

"While Microsoft is using the Cortana name during its testing of Windows Phone 8.1, it’s not immediately clear whether the company will opt to use this particular moniker in the final version of the software."



Main image courtesy The Verge

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