In addition to a number of new features that the software giant is planning to include on the Windows Phone 8.1 update, Microsoft is gearing to launch their very own personal assistant called Cortana and the folks over at The Verge got an early preview of Siri’s upcoming rival in action.
Earlier reports suggest that Cortana will replace “Bing Search” as the go-to-tool for getting information in a jiffy. However, sources familiar to the project stated the voice-activated digital assistant will still be backed by Microsoft’s own search engine, as well as other apps like Foursquare, to provide users with contextual results based on what they’ve searched.
And speaking of giving contextual information, The Verge reports that Cortana can store a user’s usage pattern, personal information and contacts to its database called “Notebook” (similar to Google Now) and use that to create notifications, reminders and provide a more relevant search result. Mind you this is an opt-in service, meaning you can turn this feature off at any given should you find it intrusive.
Other notable features of Cortana include “Change My Name” which allows users to setup a name which they preferred to be called whenever they’re interacting with Cortana.
It’s still uncertain whether or not Microsoft will keep the current name of their digital assistant when it’s all said and done. Nevertheless, we think that the addition of Cortana to the Windows Phone 8.1 feature set is a huge step forward for the next iteration of Microsoft’s mobile platform which is expected to be rolled out sometime next month.