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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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