Microsoft Cortana Might Give Siri and Google Now a Run for Their Money

September 14, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Microsoft is reportedly working on a revolutionary voice assistant code named Cortana .

Earlier this July, Stefan Weitz, senior director of Bing mentioned that they are looking to introduce something more revolutionary than Siri and Google Now, and it seems that Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri.

According to CNET, Cortana was originally called “zCortana,”  and it was seen in screenshots of a beta version of the “Blue” update to Windows Phone 8.

For video game lovers, the name Cortana is not new. It is a fictional artificial intelligent character in the Halo video game series on the Xbox, and Microsoft has picked the same name for its upcoming digital assistant, which is intended to compete with the existing voice assistant technologies.


Apple’s famous voice assistant technology Siri was launched with the debut of iPhone 4S. Although this technology was criticized for its hit-or-miss real world performance, it also acquired lots of fans.

People gradually fell in love with this voice assistant technology, as it continued to improve with usage.

We hear Cortana will also be able to learn and adapt with continuous usage. Based on reports, it will include machine-learning technology and the ‘Satori’ knowledge.

In Japanese Satori means understanding,  and this feature improves search results by delivering in-context facts and associated content pulled from Wikipedia and other social media.

Voice command features are already included in Windows Phone, but with the introduction of Cortana, Windows devices can pull notifications, weather data and calendar events.

Apple’s Siri and Google Now were also able to collect information from emails and calendar data to answer queries. But unlike these two features, Cortana will reportedly do much more than Google Now and Siri.


If the reports we hear are true, Cortana will be used to connect Microsoft system across all platforms including Windows Phone, Windows and the Xbox One operating systems using cloud technology. In other words, it is a core to the makeover of future Windows devices.

In her report, ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley also suggests that Cortana is more than a search engine and will be powering Microsoft’s operating systems.

Microsoft is not the only tech company inspired by sci-fi inspired voice assistant technology. Google’s natural language processing component for Voice Actions called by Majel was actually inspired by the Star Trek series. After reading all these, like many others, we are also eager to use this new AI inspired voice assistant technology. What about you guys?

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