Cortana, Microsoft's response to Siri, says 'Hello world'

The voice-activated personal assistant was demonstrated at the Build conference

Joe Belfiore showing off Cortana at Microsoft BUILD 2014

Joe Belfiore showing off Cortana at Microsoft BUILD 2014

Microsoft has unveiled Cortana, its response to Apple's Siri and Google's Now, as it seeks to make its Windows Phone OS a stronger competitor to iOS and Android.

Joe Belfiore, a corporate vice president with the Windows Phone group, demonstrated Cortana responding to a variety of voice commands, including requests for Web information and instructions to perform calendar tasks.

"Cortana is a truly personal digital assistant," he said during the opening keynote Wednesday at the company's Build conference in San Francisco.

Cortana is currently in beta and is part of Windows Phone 8.1, the latest version of Microsoft's OS for smartphones. Cortana is powered by the Bing search engine and "fully replaces" the existing search function on Windows Phone, he said.

Users can choose to make a wide range of information available to Cortana, so the application can use it to make personalized recommendations and suggestions for a variety of situations and scenarios.

"The user is in control of his or her relationship with Cortana," he said.

Belfiore showed how it's possible to "tell" Cortana to initiate a phone call, add or modify entries to the calendar, display flight updates, log reminders, set alarms and launch and interact with third-party applications, like Facebook and Hulu.

As a Web search engine, Cortana can be told, for example, to find the best Mexican restaurants in a particular city, which it does by tapping Yelp reviews and ratings, then narrow the list down to those that take reservations, and then place a call to one of them.

APIs (application programming interfaces) will allow developers to build applications for Cortana, he said.

Although Cortana's main attractiveness is its voice recognition capability, users can also interact with it via text queries.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileMicrosoftsoftware

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?