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Microsoft Working on Cortana, a Personal Assistant to Rival Google Now


Microsoft is finally getting around to developing a personal assistant for Windows Phone users, as they ready a Windows Phone 8.1 update that is said to feature Cortana. As for the name Cortana, she is an AI character featured in the Halo video game series, personified by the above-pictured girl. 

To what extent Cortana will be baked into the OS is still not completely known, but The Verge was able to snag some screenshots of her in action, detailing that she will be quite a bit smarter than the already built-in voice commands Windows Phone devices feature.

Apparently she can handle simple tasks, such as checking your local weather, handling notifications and system toggles. There is no doubt that Microsoft will want to try and make Cortana as user friendly and intuitive as Google Now or Apple’s Siri assistant.

The 8.1 update is rumored to launch sometime in early 2014. For any Windows Phones users that are reading this, we are sure you are excited right now.

Via: The Verge

Cheers Travis!

  • Yuan Taizong

    Can’t wait, just hope they’ll use the same voice actress 🙂

  • smardis

    “Less talking, more doing”

  • imsnowmane

    If i may add, the original story states that this will go well beyond the WP platform…. Baking her into Windows, MS’s online services, XBOne, etc….

  • dgarra

    Really Microsoft? Cortana? Get over the synergy crap.

  • Ryan Stewart

    So, is it going to pop up with a naked holographic woman? If so this might finally get Windows phone into the hands of the nerd sect.

  • Cory_S


  • jt O’Brien

    Looks like I’ll be walking around with a Windows Phone for Cortana and an Android phone for everything else.

    • Elliot Kotis

      ^ YES! Same.

    • aQuickBit

      It’s funny because that’s basically what I was doing with my GNex and HTC 8X right now. Using 8X for metro theme and dem Live Tiles…GNex for Google Now, Google Wallet, and just Google period. Used to tether my GNex to my 8X for internet and using Google Voice….before it broke for good 🙁

  • jt O’Brien

    Windows Phone…

  • Jon

    I don’t care much for the Windows Phone, but I have to admit, that’s just awesomeness right there.

  • Dee

    she needs bigger t its

    • Eibyer

      They look like apple(s) to you? 😉

  • Jeremy

    Sounds too much like clippy from old Microsoft Word.

  • Steve B

    Silly Microsoft, they still think the smartphone industry is a three horse race.

  • Bigwavedave25

    dear LAWD… will she strutt across the bottom of the desktop?

  • Jenny M

    This will go over big…with the 13 year olds.

  • chris420o

    I…LOVE…this idea….only because im sucha huge halo fan lol…but i got a better idea….let us customize our google now phrase(looking at you moto) like instead of “OK Google Now”…why not be able to customize it and say “Cortana” or “Jarvis”(like who doesnt wanna do this) and our phone just wake n act

  • Eric R.

    The real Digital Personal Assistant

  • yummy

    She looks a little slutty. I
    dont think the wife will go
    for her as my next personal
    assistant. [REJECT] stamp.
    Mikey likes it though.

  • Map

    I hope it has bing!

  • HaloLover69

    My nerd juices are flowing.

  • LoganLopez

    Seems like they are limiting their audience by doing this. I am willing to bet she will be skin-able or maybe have a gender alternative. I don’t see a lot of women finding this interesting that aren’t video game nerds.

    That being said, can’t wait till an android dev gets a hold of this and ports it over to android 🙂

    • PhoenixPath

      While the article above contained a pic of the HALO character, there is no indication MS will use any of that imagery in the app itself.

  • Bessie Arino

    My boyfriend said A LOT of nerds would get a Windows Phone if they use the same girl’s voice hahaha.

  • BulletTooth_Tony

    Well it instantly has three best name out of the competition.

    • chris420o


    • Ian

      What are the other two names?

      • BulletTooth_Tony

        Siri and Now? Was this a serious question?

        • Ian

          Nah. It was a poke at a poorly constructed sentence. 🙂

          • BulletTooth_Tony

            Oh geez… Thanks. I thought I had written “the best name out of the competition.”… And I would’ve never bothered looking back to notice it says “three best name…” That’s an auto-correct fail for sure, and I usually check them. I blame android lag… I corrected it, but I definitely sorta failed there – I’ll own that typo and how dumb it made the sentence look.

  • Stephen Morrison

    I’m a little jealous… Okay, I’m very jealous.

  • DJyoSNOW

    I have the droid DNA and when I hold the home button for Google now. I guess I was expecting it to pull up the voice command. What am I doing wrong…

    • LionStone

      It does…you can prompt by saying “Google”, our tap on the mic.

  • n11

    I’m an android user and I’M excited for this.
    Cortana as a voice-assistant is GENIUS. I would love for Jen Taylor to voice this with some occasional witty dialogue, “oh, going there again? ; )”
    I’m excited for this.
    Now we need one for Glados and Wheatley.

    • zurginator

      Jarvis please.

      … and that awkward moment when you down vote yourself while trying to edit…

      • SparkysShocker

        Jarvis currently notifies when I have a message

    • PhoenixPath

      GladOS and Wheatley (with personalities) would be Epic.

      • Eion

        I have GladOS notify me about calls, emails, text messages, etc. Her various verbal abuse of me always brightens my day.

        • PhoenixPath

          I don’t know you or why you didn’t provide a link…

          But if you don’t provide a link, I will find you.


          Link please??!?

          • Eion

            I’ve found a few of them using Google. But alot of them are from the app Zedge. I just set them accordingly to the various alerts 🙂

      • aQuickBit

        What about HAL? Actually thinking about it, probably not such a good idea…. “I’m afraid I can’t allow you to answer that call Dave”

  • zombiewolf115

    microsoft should first work on making a youtube app for their phone before trying to do something like this

    • Goldenpins

      That is up to Google, not Microsoft.Bing and Microsoft Azure already power Siri. So it’s using their own tech for their own means really.

    • chris420o

      Dont be such a hater….we hate apple…not sure why we hate microsoft so much besides their failed twitter experiments

      • zombiewolf115

        actually its up to microsoft. they are the ones that arnt following the terms and conditions for the youtube app idk why so many downvotes

    • Ian

      Wait. Microsoft should write an app for a competitor? How about Google/Youtube writes it…oh wait there isn’t enough market share to warrant it yet.

  • Allen George

    In other news, Microsoft continues beating their cash cow, and possibly the only thing keeping them in business at this point, HALO. First the game was released for Windows Mobile, now they have unleashed Cortana on your phone as a personal assistant.

    • n11

      lol, the other side of the coin is “MS is underusing their existing assets.”
      This is an awesome idea.

    • chris420o

      Ima repeat myself….why the hate for microsft…i love my windows pc because i can do what i want with it unlike apple counterparts…i hate apple…i love my xbox and i will buy an xbox one…and i love halo…i see no reason to hate on microsft outside their(mind you FAILED) anti droid twitter nonsense…let em live if i didnt love android n only want an android phone id have a windows phone before anything else(pretty smooth nice looking ui, just boring and not as many features as id like)

  • Bryant Kazmerzak

    I only hope they snag the same voice actress.

    • Jon Gee

      I don’t think that it will sell more Windows phones but if it’s actually useful, they can approximate Jen Taylor’s voice AND they bring it to other phones I think it could be cool.

    • King Lo

      I preferred the original VA to the one they used in Halo 4.

      • calum wilper

        Jen taylor is the only one that did the VA for the halo video games

  • Chris

    they need to bring back ms dewey (for those who are too young or don’t remember, she was Microsoft’s virtual assistant for the then new Windows Live Search that replaced msn search and was succeed by Bing.


    News report:


    • Dave

      And for those old enough to remember that, I say bring back the Clippy the Paperclip.

      • Nick S

        The paperclip was cool! I never liked that damn dog that came with XP for some reason.

  • Godzilla

    Dat cleavage

    • Ian

      Please don’t

      • roxy


        • Ian

          Nice guest account.

      • she is not your sister so shut up and let us infatuate about her.

    • Ej McCarty

      Shut up bionic. I guess a girl in a video game is attractive if you get absolutely zero amount of vaj.

    • Rammstein

      12 guest votes…Very rarely do I see that many votes with very little likes from actual disqus users. Suspicious indeed.

  • miri

    My curiosity is aroused…

    • bogy25

      Looking at that picture I’m just plain aroused…

      • aQuickBit

        Halo 3 Cortana is sexier

  • Aardvark99

    I’d bing that

    • Ѕтαrт мαĸιɴɢ cαѕн rιɢнт ɴow… ɢeт мore тιмe wιтн yoυr ғαмιιy вy doιɴɢ joвѕ
      тнαт oɴιy reqυιre ғor yoυ тo нαve α coмpυтer αɴd αɴ ιɴтerɴeт αcceѕѕ αɴd yoυ cαɴ нαve тнαт αт yoυr нoмe. Ѕтαrт вrιɴɢιɴɢ υp тo 8000 α мoɴтн. Ι’ve ѕтαrтed тнιѕ joв αɴd Ι’ve ɴever вeeɴ нαppιer αɴd ɴow Ι αм ѕнαrιɴɢ ιт wιтн yoυ, ѕo yoυ cαɴ тry ιт тoo. Yoυ cαɴ cнecĸ ιт oυт нere… w­w­w.D­a­y3­7.c­o­m

      As you can see from the images, it’s a semi-transparent widget that pulls from user-selected Google calendars. You’ll see white-backed items that are happening today..

    • JohanV
      • Cory_S

        This doesn’t work. You lose 10 internets.

        • Ryan Stewart

          Works for me, negative 141 internets for you.

        • Sherlock Holmes

          He was probably just trying to get in on the upvote action

  • Droid Ronin

    “How’s the weather outside?”

    Cortana: “The Covenant presence here is stronger than I anticipated. They seem to have the entire region secured!”

    • El_Big_CHRIS

      The actress voice telling me that would be enough reason to download this app on my android phone 😛

    • sc4fpse

      Cortana: “Interesting… the weather patterns here seem natural, not artificial. I wonder if the ring’s environment systems are malfunctioning… or if the designers wanted the installation to have inclement weather.”

  • 1bad69z28

    Like I stated about a year ago. I can’t wait to see if real AI Technology will move into these devices. Just think about a device that can truly interact to YOU and KNOW your habits exactly.

    Not just an app but an AI interface that can truly evolve everything in your life. Now That would be something. :).

    • shmigga

      Yeah I remember when you said that.

    • The Tank

      The quarians are screaming right now.

      • 1bad69z28

        They should try screaming a little louder 😉

  • bassman418

    Hopefully she pops up with that nice outfit on when she speaks…… 😉

    • michael arazan

      If I turn off safe filter, does she have to wear an outfit then?

      • The Phenom

        Thanks for the laugh

  • Franklin Ramsey

    I think it would be interesting at the very least (and cool in general) if you could change the voice of your personal assistant. I’m thinking the computer voice from Star Trek would be fun talking back, though Cortana would be pretty cool too.

  • cheese

    Cortana will fail, just like Daikatana

  • joejoe5709

    Uh… Ok. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I honestly like Google’s approach. I didn’t need my phone to have a personality.

    • n11

      Well, technically not your phone, just a program.
      But in the end, you can just turn it off : P

  • zakry obrien

    I hope it has bing!

    • Carlos Lopez

      Said no one ever

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    Hope the name sticks.

  • zachos

    “For any Windows Phones users that are reading this”… *crickets*

    • Alex manning

      If windows phone can stay in the game for a few years, I think they will be huge in the 64 bit game. If done right, 64 bit opens up the “bring your phone and dock it”. That could easily increase sales for Windows phone

      • MJ


        • Alex manning

          There will eventually be a point where you will no longer need a desktop ( unless you’re a gamer). Mobile phones will be strong enough to handle the needs of most desktop and laptop users. So the idea is that there will be docking stations for your phone, these stations will be similar to the idea of the one made for the atrix. So if the market moves in this direction, which it seems like it is, it would be more efficient to own a windows phone if you use Windows for a desktop. This is one reason android or Google needs to come out with a viable os. But don’t worry google sees this that’s why the head of chrome os is now heading android.

          • aQuickBit

            so basically what Ubuntu is already doing with their phone/computer model.

    • aQuickBit

      I’m here at your service. Reading on my HTC 8X currently. Its been a very good replacement of my broken GNex until I can get a Moto X through Verizon on Moto Maker.

  • Travis Erickson

    Win! Cheers Tim

  • Greg Morgan

    I love Cortana and find it awesome that Microsoft gave the program this codename.

    • michael arazan

      I’d prefer it to be Master Sargent myself.

      Glad they aren’t using the word Bing or it would go off every time a doorbell was initiated

      • yanx206

        You mean Master Chief?

        • michael arazan

          Yes, ty, corrected, been 3 years since I played it

      • Elliot Kotis

        Cortana……Master Chief isn’t an AI. Cortana is.

        Maybe Church? Or Alpha? (RoosterTeeth)

    • aQuickBit

      Yeah and if you have the option for the male voice: 343 Guilty Spark. Just let that settle in for a few seconds…

  • Guest

    SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY! (If I can take her)!