Hearing from folks on the Cortana team is always fun and interesting, and today we can enjoy a few more insights from inside Microsoft. A video shows Marcus Ash, Group Program Manager for Cortana, talking about the assistant’s beginnings and, more importantly, her future.
Speaking at a conference last week in Seattle, Ash answers some questions about how Cortana first came to be and how Microsoft’s product stands up to the competition. But, intriguingly, Ash also explains some of the team’s future plans for Cortana.
Despite the fact that, so far, Cortana has been available only in the US, more than half of the folks that have installed Windows Phone 8.1 Dev Preview are using the digital assistant internationally. Ash says the Cortana team “is shocked” by this awesome reception and as a result, they’re thinking differently about the planned roll-out of Cortana to new markets.
Here’s the deal: voice recognition systems as well as AI digital assistants need a lot of data to work well. The learning algorithms require hundreds of hours of conversations and a ton of queries to become more accurate, to understand you better and to simply become more useful.
And what better way to gather all of that data than to release Cortana to as many people as possible? Ash explains that the way Cortana has been received internationally has made the team rethink their approach and their priorities in getting the service to more people. While new features are inbound, the team is now concentrating on getting Cortana to new markets. As such the roll-out to new regions may have been sped up.
This can only be good news for everyone who likes Cortana and with Microsoft pushing new features, and reportedly bringing the digital assistant to Windows and Xbox, the future has us excited.