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Cortana questions answered about India, the recent update, new features and more

Yesterday we reported on some new features and enhancements that were rolling out to Cortana for some users. Twenty-four hours later and we still aren't seeing the updates on our phones, but other users in our forums are having better luck.

First up, we should mention that there is a user in our forum named 'Talderon' who claims to work for Microsoft with specific knowledge about Cortana. While we have not been able to verify his authenticity, the information he posts is fairly detailed and interesting. None of what he reveals is secret, but rather specific functions of Cortana and status updates on known issues, etc.

As an example, Talderon claims that with the GeoFencing feature of Cortana, it is currently using a Radius of 200-500 feet for location-based reminders. However, this was not the original plan, which involves a more sophisticated 'Distance and Polygonal special awareness.' When this feature gets implemented, the accuracy of GeoFencing will take on a new level of precision:

"This means that we will determine the size and shape of a location (not just where the pin is for the address but the shape of the building(s) related to that address) so that on large areas (College, Mall etc.) you can approach it from any direction and once you get within a distance of a "Border," you will get reminded."

Cortana and India?

We know that Cortana will be coming to the UK and China in the coming weeks, but what about that other huge market in India? Talderon responds thusly:

"India is still being worked on, but it will be sooner than later. No guess on a date yet."

Will Cortana come to Xbox One and Windows 8?

What about the future of Cortana, and whether or not Microsoft is porting it to the Xbox One and Windows 8?

"Yes, it's coming, no, no ETA but I have been testing it on XB1 and it's very neat, especially when playing a Halo game."

Such a revelation should hardly be surprising as Microsoft would be crazy to not expand Cortana onto their other platforms. The real question is When? But if Talderon is credible, it's still very much a work in progress at the early stages.

There are other bits of interesting information in his first post, updated on a fairly regular basis.

Recent changes to Cortana

Talderon has provided a list of the current changes to Cortana that some users are reporting. Most of these we have already reported, but a few are new to us. They include:

  • Lines between "cards"
  • Better Sports "cards"
  • More/enhanced News "cards"
  • Interest Improvements
  • Flight Improvement (email parsing for more airlines and more accurate information on the "cards")
  • More Jen Taylor voice smoothing (less robotic even more so)
  • Enhancement to Chit-Chat (more jokes and songs and whatnot)
  • LOTS of bug fixes. LOTS.

Indeed, as someone who is currently traveling, I can finally note that the flight tracking has improved. On my previous trips, Cortana would not parse my emails to find the relevant flight information, even though TripIt had no problems. In heading out to E3 this week, my flight tracking information was finally discovered by Cortana and working flawlessly.

As an example of more/enhanced News "cards" and Interest improvements, reader Ploydd provided some screenshots of the new News interests, which now includes the super useful 'news near me.'

In addition, Ploydd noted 'Eat + Drink' now has more features when you tap to bring up the feature's configuration. We're not entirely sure if those are new, as even we have those choices on our version of Cortana, but then again, we have never seen them either. So either it's new, or it's just something we have never noticed. Regardless, the ability to choose food types, distance and romantic/kid friendly, is very useful.

We're still waiting on the rest of the changes, including those lines and new layouts. Have you seen the changes? Let us know in comments!

Finally, make sure you subscribe to that thread if you want to keep up on the latest happenings. All you need to do is login and tap the 'Subscribe to thread' button near the top. That way you can be daily updates on all the new news.

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Reader comments

Cortana questions answered about India, the recent update, new features and more

153 Comments

LOL! I guess you select the option with a little grayed text "music" at the right corner, just type the question and hit enter. She'll respond ;)
BTW anyone knows if we'll get an update to see weather forecast in Celsius by default? I don't feel like saying "Hows the weather in [ place ] in Celsius?"

lol thats for sure. I would love to have whole converstaton in Hindi.

Me: aur cortana kya ho raha hai ?

Cortana: sab kuch ka thoda kuch aur kuch nahin ka zara sa... :D

 

This sounds very awesome. I would like an option to turn 4G off automatically as soon as I walk in my house and turn WiFi on as well. When I walk out, the opposite occurs. This would be awesome.

Shes in india ever since the developers preview 8.1 released,and am happy with her abilities to do tasks,i aksed her questions regrding india and she dint disapointed a bit,asked population,current prime minister,getting directions to local restaurents,chineese,indian,coffee shops,shopping malls,famous temples,$ to Indian ruppe conversion,setting alarm,texting my friends with indian names( have to pronunce in american accent for most of them and most of indian things)i travell a lot so to get directions having indian names to streets,cities,states never occured any problem,again u have to say the names with american accent,also tried current news,movies,novels, and many more stuff, so shes doin a lot of stuff for me in india so wont wait for official indian cortana.

Don't really like those thin lines between the cards. This is not Excel and it doesn't fit with the metro style IMO.

My wife got it on her Lumia 1020 a couple of days ago, but still nothing on my 920 or my 1020.  Southwest Texas.

She seems to have stopped with some chit chat suggestions like when you ask her about Halo specific things...

Just starting to see some of these changes today myself.  In Interests section of the Cortana settings, I see my Finance stocks synced there now and have noticed a couple new animations on the live tile.

My wife's phone has the new stuff and mine doesn't and to make it sting a little more my wife doesn't even use Cortana.

When I asked google now who is the first,second, third so on president of India.
It is able to answer accurately where as Cortana just show search results.

Still a long way to go. Way toooo long

Some "Tell me a joke" answers now has first generation robotic voice... don't like it at all :/

And "What is my name" answer has this kind of voice...

I had the quiz feature this morning, and i opened it, but had to quit midway. I can't find it anymore. Any idea how to bring it back and answer the quesitons again?

 

If I say "what's my name" I get the drake and rihana song, but if I say "What is my name" she answers correctly

Ask cortana Who is president of any cun3? Who is coach of any team? Who is who of any who? And she says the answer. I used to just get a Wikipedia link.

Tell her to sing a song , the " oh Danny boy the pipes....." Is so good voice and less robotic !!! I got the updates today and its very good!!!!

I asked What is Machu Picchu ? She knew it. What is the currency in India? She answered that as well. Really cool stuff.

Cortana is just being fair to the countries who sold more WP and not because they're english speaking country...i guess.

Talderon is the real thing. He gave me some information, said not to release it, and about week later that information became a front page article here.

To get the update, I had to change my region to UK, and then back to US. Once I did that, it asked me the four questions and I was good to go.

I already try "who am I, tell my name, what is my name" and nothing only opens bingo search. I will need to reset my phone? Our that is a problem because I'm from Portugal and I'm using the u.s settings?

I got the update yesterday morning here in India. All this features like weather on live tiles and lines between cards etc except I still don't see Cortana feedback at the end of today view

I would guess they will release Cortana for Xbox one with either the halo master chief collection or halo 5. My guess is the latter. Here's hoping

What's interesting are the changes I posted about but still have yet to see the feedback link people have talked about. I'm just so excited about all the cool changes going on right now. Been discussing with the wife if we should make the switch to AT&T for a 1520 but still on the fence.

I love my Icon but I used my brothers 1520 for a week and I miss it. The only thing keeping me from getting it is ATT does not work at my house and office.

It's very exciting to see how much work ms is really putting in to Cortana and she isn't just a "oh look, we have a voice assistant too. "

I guess when cortana is available in a country, bing will be improved a lot for local search. Maybe this is the time we could see a huge improvement in bing

Only two lines I thought a detailed report of when it will be launching in India supporting Hindi language and all will be there. Lol.

Please! Dictating punctuation! Something like that would enhance the user experience far beyond asking a computer AI immature questions and it simply spitting out rote responses.

Hello to every one .all the things are pretty nice with Cortana along with this I would like to suggest it will be nice if Cortana can remember the info of our choice regarding variety of aspects including our personal info and can just tell it out whenever I ask for the details. This is just an idea if possible I expect this as an update too.

i can't active my quiet hours, whereas i have been activated cortana.
when cortana is activated my battery 100% be faster run out.
activating Cortana =  drain the battery power

After looking at this article I checked my Cortana daily summary and noticed the lines between the cards but then I scrolled right to the bottom of the list and it said "I can be more useful if I know more about you, do you want ato answer some questions?"

 

I then got asked four questions about what I like to do in the evening and when I'm travelling and the type of food I like to eat as well as my news topic priority.

Is this what people usually get on the first run of Cortana (I skipped mine) or are they new?

  

Because of some extremely obvious non-news chattering, I call shenanigans on this guy.

"..and it's very neat, especially when playing a Halo game."

Heh, whatever Sherlock.

Also, sorry fanboys but, instead of relying on Cortana to remind me of my flights, I'd have my memory checked. Sure it's fun to have computer program to say your name, but quite frankly the practical implementations of Cortana are highly limited as they are.

You clearly have no clue about what Cortana can or can't do if remind a person of their flights is the only thing you think it can do.  In as much as ALL digital assitants on phones are limited, Cortana has some advantages already and, because of the way the system is designed to dynamically become more advanced, will steadily become LESS limited.  And perhaps your life is not so packed full that relying solely on your memory is fine, but some of us have such busy schedules that having a digital assistant helps keep us not only from missing important things but from over-obligating our time.  My schedule is so tight I have to schedule dates with my wife.  And we have no kids.  I can only imagine how intense it would otherwise.  So, yes, some of us find hands-free capabilities of a smartphone very beneficial.

Please make sound activation of Cortana like"hey cortana" instead of pressing search button or tap on cortana icon. and some usefull Q/A such a what time is it? or what's up? to read my notifications when i'm lying next to my phone!

or when it comes to Finland as Finnish one of hardest languages to learn and now in september Xbox One get Finnish Speech Recognition in the first time so i think the it comes to windows phone and windows 8 so when cortana comes to finland and start to learn finnish difference accents, cortana have base what to improve too as adding words to database make it better in the long term as that database goes better and cortana learns those too and make it more personal as well