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Cortana - Microsoft virtual assistant

Microsoft Cortana Virtual Assistant (Halo)Cortana is a voice-controlled virtual assistant for Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1. Comparable to Siri, the intelligent assistant enabled on Apple devices, Microsoft's Cortana will use the Bing search engine and data stored on the user's smartphone by to make personalized recommendations.

Cortana Offers Personalized Recommendations

According to Microsoft, users will be able to launch Cortana from the start screen, where the female virtual assistant will offer suggestion for tasks the owner might want to carry out based on location and past behavior. Users can instruct Cortana to find information, schedule appointments, set notifications or remainders and use features of applications installed on the device.

Cortana in the News

Who is Cortana? It's Halo's Jen Taylor
Cortana: everything you need to know about Microsoft's Siri rival
Back off, Siri! Microsoft debuts Halo beauty Cortana
Microsoft Reveals Windows Phone 8.1, Halo-Inspired Cortana
Why are Cortana and Siri female?

Personalization of Cortana for users is largely based on the amount of information the user shares. For example, by allowing access to calendar, email, contacts and browsing history the virtual assistant can use this data to try and anticipate the user's needs.

As reported on eWeek, Cortana's answers and suggestions get better as she grows more familiar with the user, courtesy of Microsoft's search platform. Powered by Bing, Cortana gets to know you, builds a relationship that you can trust, and gets better over time by asking questions based on your behavior and checking in with you before she assumes you're interested in something.

Who is Cortana? 

The virtual assistant is named after the artificially intelligent (AI) system in Microsoft's Halo video game. In Halo, this fictional AI character provides gamers with the the backstory and tactical information needed to play.  Jen Taylor is the voice actress of Halo's Cortana and is also the voice of the digital assistant. According to Wikipedia, Cortana's original design was based on the Egyptian queen Nefertiti.

Recommended Reading:  Windows universal apps for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1

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