Cortana says the darndest things (and she sings!)

This isn’t so much news as just something to chew on while you wait for the Windows Phone 8.1 bits to rollout in the coming weeks. Cortana, the recently announced personal voice-assistant app, is being programmed to have quite the personality. Much like Apple’s Siri, Cortana will not only answer your legitimate real-life questions, but she will respond with wit and humor when asked non-serious inquires too.

We spent a few minutes playing around with a recent build of Cortana, and the video above speaks for itself. We’re sure Microsoft will be adding even more amusing responses to her repertoire over the coming weeks. Likewise, we’re sure you’ll post your curious findings in our Cortana forums for others to enjoy.

Want to see more? Make sure you watch our exclusive Cortana video tour.


Reader comments

Cortana says the darndest things (and she sings!)


Hopefully, what I want to see is that all of Microsoft's TellMe voice is gone and that it is all replaced by Cortana's (Jen Taylor) voice.

I found the black 930 the prettiest, with the white one coming in second. I loved the colored ones but I didn't like their metallic borders.

why dont u show if there's something like file manager...'file picker'? I personally dont require it so much, but my friend keeps on asking me,so...

there is a file picker for uploading files to websites inside of internet explorer 11, you have a selection from, pictures, music, videos, documents, ringtones etc...

yeah ...saw that before. I want to know if the integration of filemanager with onedrive  like on windows 8.1, is true

Unless I remember incorrectly, I believe Bicycle Built for Two was the first recorded song by synthesized voice. Neat that they picked that one.

Same reason it was sung by HAL in "2001: A Space Odyssey".
"OK Cortana, open the pod bay doors" . . .

I think it's a bunch of baloney! I can speak English better than half of the population residing in the US! And I'm Dutch with Turkish origins for gods sake! Why Microsoft why? You at least owe us an explanation! SMW, don't ask what that means!

Sounds like the voice is getting better and better with each video released. That's very good to see/hear.

Some of the funny answers are prerecorded sentences by Jen Taylor. The synthesized voice isn't..

Ah well that explains it. I thought it may have sounded too good to be true. Thanks for the info.

She did during the keynote, one of the guy's name was Dave (David) and he asked her some question and she replied "I am sorry Dave, I can not do that" or something similar. That was good tribute to Space Odyssey and HAL. :)

I'm thinking it's most likely dependant on the OS that is on the phone? Meaning if a phone in China will have a ROM made for China and likely won't have Cortana enabled, regardless of region setting.

I just hope that she will be as good as the US one when she gets released to other countries... Especially her speech quality is amazing.

Cortana: "I am sorry, I can not do that. I am just figment of your childish imagination"

Ok...I can't help but think of the scene from "Her" now when Samantha asks what he would do to her if she were there. . . :D

But you'll be able to have Cortana by chaging the region on your OR Just speak in english (it's not a big deal).

Is there a way to basically turn it off, so that e.g. when I hit the search button, I get to Bing and universal search without having to deal with Cortana's greetings etc. every single time? And only use Cortana when specifically hitting the Cortana live tile?

I hate that you got to press the microphone button everytime. I mean if you already started a conversation it should stay listening.

Yeah, I'm looking forward to future WP hardware that has the always-listening capability of the Moto X or even at least the nexus 5.

As a bit of historical background...  ELIZA and her variants were doing these kinds of special case responses in the 1960s.  DECtalk was doing text-to-speech with singing in the 1980s.  So these are rather old tricks, but amusing nonetheless.

Cortana will probably be integrated with MS/Nokia music and video apps down the road.  Give other guys a chance to sing. :-) 

great now, that isn't really the kind of stuff I want to know. WP central, you obviously have access to it, why not show us what useful things she can do. you know what would be even better and more informative, mayb even, dare I say traffic driving article? A comparison chart.

Have Siri vs Now vs cortana. Tell me what each can do that the other can't. The sing thing is fine but guys, come on! you have access and we don't. get it together.

Cannot believe UK is not getting it until much later though we're getting Nokia Lumia 630 and 930 with 8.1 early!

So that's the point with cortana? A totally useless function, just used for answering useless questions without meaning!
"Who is your father Cortana?"
Oh my.... Microsoft should have focused on developing basic functionality before even thinking about cortana!

Yup, because using all the other features of cortana is useless?

I'm sorry, but the calendar management, understanding your email and all the other things it was demoed on stage doing are impressive.

Well... I can read my messages and calendar, and write them myself.
A function like cortana is just a funny gadget in the beginning, and annoying when the times go by... And soon people will stop using it. Just like Siri on iOS, fun in the beginning but now i never see someone use it anymore...

Didn't see the hands on they did yesterday? Where they used it to search for a business, text someone, check in on foursquare, check the weather... you know, basic functionality stuff. It's pretty neat, you should check it out so you don't have to burst a vein over people having fun.

Exactly my point.... Cortana is just "fun", and will never replace normal input like texting manually.
And after a little while... People stop using it...
So why making so much fuzz about it then...

he is not wrong...

Voice assistants are fun to have.. you dont see peope using it all the time .. i use Siri or google now only when i am driving as it is useful that time. You dont have to operate your phone. But in normal life once the fun fades off, you realise that typing or operating manually is faster than using voice assistants....


For you it is worthless. I, on the other hand, have embraced voice to text recognition. I can honestly say that I speak and listen to my texts as much as I actually type it. I have a total of 1 1/2 hours of commute driving each work day, my car has bluetooth integrated. I am able to listen to my text messages and respond without ever touching my phone. I also work out for at least one hour a day now and I have one of those awesome LG TONE+ headsets so I am able to use my phone while running or between sets without touching the phone in my gym bag. With a truly integrated assistant that can help manage my calendar, set quick timers or even ask her to notify me if I have completed at least 10000 steps by 10 O'Clock, it would be amazing. I got so used to it that even when I need to send a three sentence text, I speak it without typing. Once you embrace the technology, you never want to go back.

I don't know a single person with an iPhone that uses siri outside of jokes. Not a single person, I'm sure they are out there, but virtual assistants are a novelty, and one that Microsoft are kind of passed the fad on.

yup.. its Good to have.. but it is absolutely not necessary to have.. how many people do we see in public using Siri or Google Now?

I only use Siri or Google now when i am driving.. other than that i cant think of anytime Voice assistants are useful


Why have there been no Halo related questions asked of Cortana? I have so many questions about the flood, and the covenant!

The only thing I need to know is if she can tell me if this cave is a natural formation or not. Ok, it'd be nice to know if she can bring the ship back up to combat alert alpha too.

Question: How much data (KB or MB) does each question use?


This could be a big deal for people with small data plans.

Wake me up when Microsoft release it worldwide instead of fuckungup, yet again. You'd think with all those billions they'd actually spend a bit of it.

Cant wait to see if, us in Canada, will have any ways to get to cortana, or only a bing search button like it always been. I mean, why not leave it in english and able it.....wtf

I bet it has to do with servers.... If there not in Canada it would be slower... What I wonder is how much of her is tell me networks...

Please tell me that the first song she sang was "Daisy Bell"! That made me spit out my coffee. I knew the Windows phone team had a sense of humor, but I didn't think they's do that. Way too funny. I wonder what happens if you ask her to "Open the pod bay doors"

Wow, it's like living in the future, 2011. Guys, if we wanted iPhones, we'd have iPhones. Just make voice recognition work and stop the singing. 

Quick question. TellMe had male voices... Cortana is technically only female so there are no options for male voices right?

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