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March 24, 2017

What is Cortana?

Microsoft's answer to Apple's Siri and Google's Google Now.

By Ellie Burns

Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri – an intelligent personal assistant for Microsoft Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows Phone, Microsoft Band, Xbox One, iOS and Android.

Making its debut at the 2014 Microsoft BUILD Developer Conference, it was billed as a stand out feature of the revamped operating systems for Windows Phone and Windows.

Named after a character from the video game Halo, Cortana can be spoken to without the need to manually input data from a keyboard.


Who voices Cortana in the UK?

Cortana can set reminders, answer questions using the Bing search engine, and recognise natural voice.

An attempt has been made to tailor Cortana based on the region where it is being used. In the UK, for example, the assistant has a  British accent and uses British idioms, while the Chinese version, known as Xiao Na, speaks Mandarin.

Ginnie Watson, an actress and voice-over artist, is the Cortana voice for the UK localised version of the assistant.

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