Cortana
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Meet Cortana in this frisson-inducing video

Microsoft has just wrapped up their first keynote for Build 2014. In it we learned all about Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 8.1 Update 1, Windows on Devices and the future of Microsoft. Of course Cortana plays a vital role in that. During the keynote Microsoft had a video to introduce Cortana. You need to watch it.

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Pretty amazing right? Check out our hands-on of Cortana

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Reader comments

Meet Cortana in this frisson-inducing video

134 Comments

MS please give us developer preview today...
Couple of months ago I read somewhere that Cortana will be available in US only. Is it still the case?

No. They said at the keynote it will roll out in other countries after the US, and the dev preview will come out this month. No specific date iirc.

Also UK and China I think. There may have been another English speaking country as well as the US and UK, I can't remember.

Gah, it sucks that Microsoft continues to believe in this staged migration approach for every service they have. I live in Spain and would be delighted to provide feedback, run the service through any imaginable test, etc. But they don't seem to believe in worldwide rollouts

That video is great. But I wasnt very impressed with all they showed for its practical use. I bet it will still have a looong way to go. Especially for anywhere outside the USA. Beta. :/

Notebook seems to be Cortana's biggest advantage right now. Google and Apple are certainly gonna copy that.

I gotta say, I didn't think the video was that great. More disturbing than encouraging! Tanks, shoving into lockers, a casket....all while learning about me????

Also, that baby looked nothing like me either.

CORTANA looks awesome! With its merger of Google Now and Siri features plus its own unique features Cortana might be the Next Big Thing. She's going head to head with Samsungs and Apple's full on Health and Wellness drive. I started a forum here: Can CORTANA and Windows Phone 8.1 Rule in 2014 or has Microsoft Missed the Boat on Health? What do you guys think? http://forums.wpcentral.com/windows-phone-8-1/266878-next-big-thing-microsoft-s-cortana-vs-apples-samsungs-move-health.html

 

 

 

 

Really well done, but totally creepy. They also used the voice actor for Cortana it sounded like. Daniel's videos sound like it is the same voice as current voice uses.

So you're saying we can't integrate our apps with Cortana if we don't live in US??? Or at least test them?? Doesn't make sense....

i was thinking the same thing.  it was creepy.   instead of showing people how it could benefit them, or how they would use it..  they just went into creepy world, and then it's like hi i'm cortana..... que long silence, as you associate the creepy video with cortana. 

Edit,  they need to get some new marketing.    saying things like "now i'm learning about you"  and then playing video of the most private parts of peoples lives is NOT what you want to do to foster a sense of trust about your technology. 

The video is epic; but I want access to Cortana outise the US for English speakers. I don't care about language localisation, but for people who are English speakers or just US people living abroad, why should they not have access to Cortana right away with the rest of the US.

It should be up to the user to decide if the US localised Cortana is sufficient not on Microsoft limiting it's access.

Also the most troubling part of the Cortana announcement was that there was not a single word on user privacy and how the info will be stored apart from the notebook feature. Also can you disable the cloud features and use cortana as a local phone only assistant if you don't want your info synced with the cloud or shared with Microsoft???

 

Well, if you speak, say, British English, Cortana wouldn't be able to understand you as well. Voice recognition is really hard to do, even the most subtle changes in dialect make a huge difference.

Sure, I get that, but that should be on the user to decide, not on MS to impose a restriction. There are ton of US-english speakers outside the US.

Also they should build Cortana in a way that she can learn and adapt to your english accent; one could argue that the US-english in e.g. NYC is more similar to UK than to the south US accent; the point is even within the US the accents vary a lot, so this limitation is purely artificial.

 

They can't build Cortana to learn and adapt to a person's english. No computer is smart enough to learn phonology and morphology. You don't even know it. Cortana is good at voice recognition, but MS won't release a product and hear complaints about how "it doesn't work." It gives them bad press. Trust me, MS is doing the smart thing.

Bing is worthless outside of the US and I don't ever see it getting better.  Cortana will be the same.   I've been with WP since the start with a Samsung Omnia 7 and now a HTC8X but it is now clear to me that MS are really only interested in the US market.  The whole 'accent' argument for the staggered release is bs.  Some US accents are clear, crisp and not disimilar to a UK accent whilst others accents in the US are barely understandable as English.  The variation is huge so this argument fails.

 

I'm invested heavily with MS with 5 PC's all running Win8.1, a laptop and a win8.1 pro tablet however, as far as phones go I'm going back to Android as WP has taken too long to get here and I only see further delay for the rest of the world.  

It's only creepy if there are insufficient privacy protections, because without them how can you trust Cortana with your info?

Would you trust a personal assistant/secretary you hired without weting her and having her sign NDA? Especially in fields like law practice where breach of client confidentiality can land you in prison.

 

They need to redo/omit the "Now I'm learning about you..." bit, because that comes off a little on the creep side. 

I LIKE that it's kind of creepy.

Not afraid to show a messy birth, some high school bullying, and a coffin.

It's actually a nice antedote to the 'sunshine and lollipops' feel of most Apple & Google 'aspirational' ads these days, and reminds me of the classic "Cradle to Grave" ad from the original Xbox.

Cortana only knows about you what you choose to tell her. You have the option to add information in the Notepad, but if you don't want to you can leave it totally blank

Not so much creepy as stalker/evil villian like...."Now I'm learning about you...muahahahaha"

Mix of dramatic music and the overall dark feel of the video make it that way in my opinion. Still excited to get it on my phone though.

they really need to work on that speech engine. basically every presenter had to repeat themselves and apologize because predictably, cortana doesn't know WTF you're saying...like kinect, like windows phone.

The current voice recognition is probably upper 90% for me already. Usually completely accurate, filters out other sounds, maybe a missed word. Even the music recognition (which I know is a different recognition process altogether), I've had it work in a noisy sports bar.

Could be hardware related (using Lumia 928, has 3 mics).

It's almost like MS is fulfilling it's own prophecy and one day it'll evolve into the Cortana we see in Halo.  Mind blown.

Indeed, I can just imagine a holographic Cortana in 2050 interacting with me just like in Halo; would be epic.

 

Wow, that was terrible. If they took out the first half of it, it'd be decent, but with that 30-second mess, it's just a bad commercial.

Yes, but they're still in the process of recording. The phrases she hasn't given are currently supplied by MS TTS, but they'll be replaced by Taylor's voice over time

Can you plz tell me y I am not able to c any of the videos..it just wont open, moreover I cant even open google on my ie since 2hours back

I think a transcendence tie-in would've worked a little better for the vid

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It sort of said, "I am learning how horrible-and also sublime- you can be, Human." Hopefully she doesn't pass judgment at some point.

"now I'm learning about you".. Few more years SkyNet will take over n we will be terminated, good thing Arnold lives in Cali..

I hope that the Dev Preview will install the Cortana bits or atleast an option to enable it when changing the region. This can be easily adapted for everyday work as long as you can speak good English. Infact, I was wondering when Joe was saying that they need us to test it out extensively so that they can improve their backend, they should have mulled at a global rollout to atleast English speakers (native or non-native) so that the extensive speech inputs from all over the world can fine tune her abilities.

Exactly. If you're not in US, just change the region. I did that for the bing homepage and the Cortana options showed up but they weren't there when it was set to canada. WP will likely work the same way and I'd expect most of its features to work pretty well after doing this.

didnt care too much about it until today but Cortana looks awesome. And yes, I'm thrilled about the name.

Also, the video was really cool.

Can't wait until rile 10th!

The only thing that I would love even more was if Cortana had the eyes like the administrator from ODST. Didn't someone buy the rights to the face though?