Microsoft’s answer to Siri, Cortana, to launch with Windows 8.1 update

3 Mar 2014

The first images and details of Microsoft’s challenge to Apple’s voice-recognition and command software Siri, with the launch of Cortana with its upcoming Windows 8.1 update.

According to The Verge, Cortana will replace the largely forgotten and rarely used voice recognition software used with its Bing search engine.

Named after one of the artificial intelligent characters in the popular Xbox video game Halo, the system will appear as a circular animated icon which will move when it’s undertaking different tasks all in a similar fashion to Apple’s Siri.

Also similar to Siri, Windows Phone owners can contact people in their contact lists by saying the person’s name and also respond to questions.

One of the software’s biggest draws is its ability to save information and voice in a notebook-like system and will allow the Cortana digital assistant to access information such as location data, behaviours, personal information, reminders, and contact information. 

This would appear to be similar to Google Now which follows a person’s movements and content it accesses online to create a personalised feed based off these interests.

All eyes will be on Microsoft’s next Build conference where it is expected to unveil the new Cortnana software Cortana and is also expected to release a developer preview of its Windows Phone 8.1 operating system at the same time.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic