Rumor: Microsoft working on "Cortana" personal assistant


Cortana as she appears in the latest game in the Halo series, Halo 4.

Would you like a personal assistant that knows what you want, when you want it? Sure you would. It's the kind of companion that anyone would like to have, and Microsoft is reportedly creating a highly advanced personal assistant feature for its operating systems.

According to ZDNet.com, using info from unnamed sources, the project is code named "Cortana"  and is supposed to be a competitor to features found in Apple's iOS devices (Siri) and products that use Google's Android OS (Google Now). However, The story also says that "Cortana" is being developed to be one of the "core" features that will be put into every future version of Windows Phone and Windows, along with the Xbox One OS.

"Cortana" is also the name of the AI assistant to Master Chief in the Halo sci-fi shooter series and is the perfect code name for Microsoft's real life personal assistant project.

In a strategy memo sent out in July as part of Microsoft's reorganization announcement, current CEO Steve Ballmer said that the company was developing a "shell" for its devices. He stated, "Our shell will natively support all of our essential services, and will be great at responding seamlessly to what people ask for, and even anticipating what they need before they ask for it." It's highly likely that "shell" he was referring to was "Cortana."

So when will we be able to access this new next generation personal AI helper? That's the question that no one seems to know at the moment. In fact, the story hints it could be at least a year away, and perhaps even longer, before "Cortana" is ready for our input.

Source: ZDNet | Image via Microsoft

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48 Comments

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Now it would be awesome if Cortana would appear on top of your phone as a hologram to inform you of an incoming phone call, appointment, and such. That would be an eye catcher, and you can tell the person beside you, "can your phone do that?", and Cortana will then tell you, "oh be nice will you".

But I think the later part is somewhere down the future.

Ci7 said,
now we need 3D Hologram Projector for her.
Imagine having a micro projector on a Windows Phone. Hold the phone horizontally, and she pops up. Wicked.

Just the other day when the iPhone was announced, all you heard was, "Apple is a bunch of copycats, they keep stealing ideas from Nokia," yet here we are in "silence".

It's one thing to copy a phone shell like Samsung with the iPhone. But how does one copy a cloud-powered digital assistant exactly? This is a tremendous feat of software engineering.

CygnusOrion said,
It's one thing to copy a phone shell like Samsung with the iPhone. But how does one copy a cloud-powered digital assistant exactly? This is a tremendous feat of software engineering.
Im not saying their copying. However, lets reverse the two companies. Microsoft has Siri, Apple comes up with something similar. All hell breaks loose on these forums with accusations of copy infringement, you name it. Just saying Cygnus! Double standards like a MOFO around here.

JHBrown said,
Im not saying their copying. However, lets reverse the two companies. Microsoft has Siri, Apple comes up with something similar. All hell breaks loose on these forums with accusations of copy infringement, you name it. Just saying Cygnus! Double standards like a MOFO around here.

if apple did come up with Siri you may have a partial point, but they didn't, they bought it.

JHBrown said,
Just the other day when the iPhone was announced, all you heard was, "Apple is a bunch of copycats, they keep stealing ideas from Nokia," yet here we are in "silence".

Like the few who said Samsung was copying Apple by using 64bit in their next phone.

duddit2 said,

if apple did come up with Siri you may have a partial point, but they didn't, they bought it.

Did not MS bought TellMe as well? There is no reason to re-invent the wheel, so to speak. If another company has already developed something either buy the right to use it or the entire company. From a business point of view is obviously the best solution. And MS also did it with Skype, again no reason to create it from scratch.

holy, when i was playing halo 4 cortana was already one of the most captivating assistant ever appear in a game. Cortana voice is nice and should be even better for acting as a secretary to manage your device. Plus include the hologram with cortana will be the best things ever happen to windows OS!

Edited by Master of Earth, Sep 13 2013, 8:48am :

Arceles said,
Nothing like ADA from Zone of Enders.

God she could be annoying at times...tho now you;ve mentioned it I'm gonna have to go back and play some ZoE...

I remember reading/seeing an interview with Bill Gates and him talking about a personal assistant type thing. I'm guessing this is it!

It's gonna be fun.. hopefully will have the ability to learn new things and not just the default commands "send email.. oh wait!!! don't send it yet"!
Cortana: whops, too late.
Cortana: aha, just f**king with ya! Still here.

MidnightDevil said,
It's gonna be fun.. hopefully will have the ability to learn new things and not just the default commands "send email.. oh wait!!! don't send it yet"!
Cortana: whops, too late.
Cortana: aha, just f**king with ya! Still here.

read zdnet article

Microsofts code names are always better than their product names. It'll probably be called Microsoft Assistant for Windows/Xbox/Phone 2013 Pro edition

keep Cortana!!!!

ILikeTobacco said,
Nerds everywhere: "Cortana, call me sexy"
Cortana: "Okay, Sexy"
Nerds everywhere: nerdgasm...

Change your ringtone to the line in Halo 1 when you crashland.

"Chief! Chief can you hear me?"

Enron said,
Bonzi Buddy RT

i wasn't lucky enough to meet bonzi buddy in the past in fact this is the first time i heard about bonzi buddy i guess im not that old haha