Cortana can now tell you how old Bill Gates is, find your location and more

Microsoft is firing all cylinders in the engine that drives Cortana. It was just announced that China and the United Kingdom would be getting Cortana shortly. Cortana also just entered alpha status for India, Australia (hello mates) and Canada. Now we're seeing some other changes with Cortana. Users are now seeing more answers returned à la Google Now.

Go ahead and try it yourself. Ask Cortana a question like:

"How old is Bill Gates?"

And she'll reply verbally with his age and give you his birthdate (he's 58 years old by the way).

You can also try questions like "Where am I?" and the like. You might have seen a feature or two like these in the previous weeks, but we're now seeing these types of queries answered intelligently on a larger scale.

Also, you're now able to select the departure date for flights that Cortana is tracking for you. Previously you could only track flights from the current day, but we're seeing reports of being able to select the departure date by going into the Cortana's Interests.

Noticing any other changes with Cortana? Sound off below and don't forget to check out our dedicated forums for all things Windows Phone, including Cortana.

Thanks for the tips everyone!

Sam Sabri
  • Nice! I would still like for her to tell me the time and do simple multiplications :) 
  • She can't speaks it but she can do simple multiplications.
  • Well for asking time you can try my app Voice Time .
  • I'm pretty sure that's a priority for the team.
  • Is that sarcasm I smell? :P
  • Fear.
  • Agree... So there's no need to open my phone or flick my Wrist to do that.
  • Seems faster!
  • Aww :( I wanted to say it first, just once.
  • Go on, you can still say it.
  • Please don't. One of these comments per article is already too much for me. :)
  • Well, the complaints for seems faster are slower, so that's progress.
  • so who invented that dumb idea?
  • Correct way to put it: the usage of seems faster now seems slower on this seemingly fast forum.
  • Interesting..
  • Indeed. "Where am I?" has worked for me since the day I installed the PFD. It was one of my first questions to Cortana.
  • Same here.
  • Same here
  • Have a UK cv 920 ...eagerly waiting for cyan....MS is doing some,great work indeed....i hope people start complaining less.....and just enjoy this slow albeit an exciting update ride :D
  • So how do us Aussies opt in for Cortana... I'm sick of my phone being set up as a US phone...
  • Opt in after installing GDR1 preview next week.
  • You don't need to do anything, next week they will probably launch Cortana in Australia, so you can just change your region to Australia and use it.
  • So I guess I have to move to Australia then, bc I don't want to change the area all the time.
  • Me too.... Some are saying it may come with the update 1 for 8.1.. But my interpretation was it is available now? The guys here will probably elaborate as more details roll in ;)
  • Is it because of your accent?
  • No, it's because I'm sick of changing regions just to download certain apps and I'm sick of converting the temperature into Celsius... I also want news about Australian sports... I don't care about NFL or MLB... I care about NRL and Union...
  • Lol.
  • +520
    For the sports part
  • +1 for the Celsius part (I'm Canadian).
  • I find she understands my accent perfectly fine...other than the word Call, I've just taken to saying Ring instead :P
  • Ditto +925
  • With the dates you were able to search for "Flight XYZ" and select "track flight". Than go to interests in the cortana notebook and manually change the date behind the flight. This way you could select a flight for the next week which is based on a daily Flightnumber without having the daily information there for the current day
  • Nice! Getting better
  • It's G'day Mate lol :D
  • Uh.....I've been asking Cortana these questions for over a month and she's always answered. How is this new?
  • +620 Since she was launched actually. But now she says the answer out loud.
  • Shas been doing that for a long time now.  At least over a month.  
  • Yep, 'How old is Scarlett Johansson' worked all the way back at launch.
  • Now try: Who is Scarlett Johansson? Or: What was Scarlett Johansson's last movie?   This is where Cortana has been expanding.
  • Hey, I never noticed that. That's pretty cool!
  • yeah you can now have a conversation with follow up questions. Who is Scarlett Johansson? then What was her last movie? remember to say after Thank You ;)
  • Are you sure this didn't work only because she was just in a movie titled "Her"?
  • Hmmmm... try asking cortana if she likes scarlett Johansson... 
  • I once asked if she's a fan of Michael Jackson. She avoided answering - "Consider this a polite dodge of your question." Lol.
  • No, because I asked about many other people as well. Barack Obama for one because it was used in a Siri/Cortana comparison.
  • WPCentral is slow. Remember when they reported that Cortana does impressions 3 months later.
  • Plus, she seems faster!
  • Never mind, they already said it :(
    But Cortana so totally rocks. I talk to her almost as much as my girlfriend.
  • Lol!
  • Any idea when we'll get Cortana? ( United Arab Emirates)
  • Momken b3d 3 snen or 4.....
  • > How old is Barack Obama? It'll take about a minute to drive to blablablastreet 123. It's less than one mile away.
    What the fuck Cortana...
  • i cried. haha
  • I asked her the same and it works fine
  • Tried again after some time and seems to work now. Cortana hiccups I guess :)
  • Lol
  • I swear she did this before....
  • Yep, since launch.
  • Yes.
  • When is the alpha version releasing for India???
  • I guess with update 1
  • Looking forward
  • Tracking flights doesn't seem to work for me, is there something special I shoud do (aside from enabling it in interests of course) or is it just because it is too far ahead (I fly the end of august)? Then again, location based reminders don't work either.
  • try ask her to track your flight "Flight EK655" or whatever. she will show you todays ek655 then tell her show you updates on the flight. go to your interests there you will find the flight. open it and you can select your departure date. boom
  • Thanks! That worked. I guess I was expecting her to go through my emails and add this stuff automatically but maybe that's coming later on? Anyway, I learned something new :)
  • In emails, texts, etc..., dates, times, flight numbers, and the like should be underlined. Clicking on them should prompt you to add them to your calendar.
  • Yeah, I noticed that before when texting to someone but for some reason it doesn't work in this instance. Oh well, it works for now by manually adding the info and Cortana will only get better.
  • I am flying at the end of this week, and yesterday (after this Cortana update, presumably), it prompted me with my flight information, both for my outgoing flights (Aug 1) and my return flight (Aug 17). I recently re-sent these reservation emails to myself, in an attempt to get Cortana to notice them, so maybe that also helped. I wonder if Cortana only searchs the email that is on the phone (last 7 days or whatever time interval you have it set to sync) or if it also searchs email on the server. If it only does currently synced emails, then you might have to resend the flight reservation emails to yourself so she can see them.
  • Hm, interesting. Thanks for the tip!
  • I've just tried adding two flights like that. I was able to press the "update me on this flight" button on one of them and change the date from the notebook; however, I can't do it with another flight that already landed today as there's no button. Do you know any other way to select a date? I tried "flight de 2079 on August 26", but I still get results for today..
  • Location based reminders don't work for you?
  • I wish Cortana would ask to add flight information to your calendar for flights she is tracking.
  • Yeah, I'd love that too..
  • How do we get updates for Cortana? I don't remember the store alerting me to updates.
  • They only update her on their servers. Cortana is not an app
  • It gets updated automatically. You don't have to do anything.
  • You have to buy them, asshole ! Go back to your cavern jerk.
  • Nothing new about Gates years, it was there from the beginnig ,you just have to ask.
  • This ' where am i' thing was there long ago
  • Not since launch though Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Long ago doesn't mean since launch!
  • Wow, I can ask about Bill's age. The Wow really starts now.
  • She was doing some of this for a while, but her detail and information has been expanded. So for example, she could always answer:  How old is Cher?
    Now, she can do more expansive answers like: Who is Cher? This also includes if  you ask her questions like: Who directed Clerks? Oddly she does the math and time stuff I see people requesting, but she doesn't read it back: What is the Time?  - will display the time, but she doesn't yet read it.    
  • I don't see the time when I ask her. I'd like her to say it aloud, but first she should learn to be useful without unlocking the screen inside my pocket when via Bluetooth...
  • This! It should check the proximity sensor and if the phone is in your pocket it should not activate the screen.
  • When does Canada go live so I can take my region of USA?
  • She told ages of all the famous persons from 1st day... its not a new thing...
  • When will it be available in the Philipinnes? 
  • You've been able to ask how old people are for a WHILE now. I asked how old Barack Obama was when about a month ago thinking it would just send me to a Wikipedia page or something, and to my surprise she told me his age.
  • How old is Jessica Simpson, how old is Bill Clinton, how old is Madonna... she didn't miss one. Brava!
  • she couldn't tell me how old jesus is.
  • Lol
  • I know the article already talks about this: But the first two things have been the case for me since release. Ever since Cortana has been available, I've been asking her how old people are, and where I'm located, and she's answered admirably. So could someone explain to me what's "new?" Thanks!
  • Now she defines words verbally, rather than just a web search.
  • I always have this...
  • When she will know our ages too :P?
  • You know what would be great?...If I HAVE Cortana..fml
  • get me home by walking, and she will open up maps get me home by driving, and she will open up Here Drive
  • She can tell the age for more known persons in general :) Though she wasn't able to tell me how old Joe Belfiore is :/
  • Jesus, what kind of article this is... You should have an article everytime Cortana learns to tell a new word
  • Last time I tried "Take me home" she just binged it. Now she actually gives me directions to my house!
  • Since last few day my data sense isn't working, it's not taking the reading of how much data I have used via cellular or via Wi-Fi.
    I can't reinstall my phone.
    Please give me some suggestion to over cone this problem.
    Mail me please,
  • Umm what are you talking about dude Cortana did give my location before cyan update :o
  • By the time she tells me his age in uk. You guys will know all of the solar system.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  • How old am I :P
  • Why can't see answer "Who is Cortana"?
  • Try asking her this "who are you" ?
  • i just love her.
  • Who ?!
  • Hihi, who do you think? To bad she isn't available in Dutch yet.
  • She keeps getting better and better, am loving her the more, up Windows phone, up Nokia, up Lumia, up Microsoft, and please will be very glad if you could fix the bitlock issue
  • "When are you coming to Australia?"
  • I should be there next week,will call you :)
  • And when CORTANA in spanish, french, german and ... dutch?
  • It's just available,
  • Long distance relationships never work, I'm in the UK so I went and got myself a new gf, I'm over you already Cortana
  • You can ask Cortana... What song is this.... and get an answer.
  • Am i missing something here? as i understand it, one has to activate Cortana by touching the icon on screen, so for instance if i wanted to open Google using Cortana,i would touch the Cortana icon then verbally speak the command 'open Google', its easier and quicker to just tap the Google icon and go straight to it. As i said maybe im missing something,maybe someone can enlighten me? er please?                                                                                                                            Prom 99
  • You could also press the search button from your lock screen... or at any time, no matter what you're doing, it'll open Cortana, as long as your screen is on. I ask her to stop my music that way. Lol.
  • I've been able to ask Cortana these questions for a while now. At least a few weeks.
  • I tried "how old is Barack Obama" and it worked just as well
  • Try asking your age and see if you get the answer! And then ask it how dumb you are asking a phone questions !
  • FANTASTIC ! we finally get to know Bill Gates age,!! Shit,I can't even sleep anymore for the excitement:)
  • Please help me, ask Cortana "when he would die?"
  • When will her voice be less tellme and more Jen Taylor?
  • She could have always told me the ages of famous persons :/ that isn't new
  • I'd like her to set a simple timer.
  • I do that all the time. Just tell Cortana to set a timer for like 4 minutes and she will. She sets it up like an alarm though. You can also ask her to do hours.
  • +930  About time Cortana came to Australia.  2014 seems to be the year for Windows Phone. I have never seen Microsoft release so many updates. Looking forward to WP8.1 update 1    
  • Now, if she can only answer accurately to my question 'What year is this?' along with 'Where am I?', she'll be a perfect companion to my time travel adventures across millenia!
  • i've been using the "how old is ______" since dev preview launch day. Those have always worked for me. Or is it just Bill Gates being new as a person of interest. I asked "how do i get home" on monday and she got me nokia drive pulled up with directions home. was that new?
  • "Where am I" was there before. Wasn't it?
  • thats old news for me she even responds to how old someone is after i ask who is he or how tall is she whatever, and also the "where am i" command, what i want now is verbal responses for everything with a simple answer, and better if she ask you if you want more info about it, i hate it when i ask how much is 20 plus 30 and see a CLEAR result in BIG letters and all and she stays quiet, jeez they should remove the web search thing if i wanted to make one i would simply type it in, if i talk i want a vocal response back damn it
  • Hmm. Perhaps the reason is because there are way too many responses that'd have to be recorded.
  • Ummmm... I've been able to ask her ages of people since I originally downloaded the 8.1 preview? I've asked about countless wresters (John Cena, etc.) and other celebrities... its worked like a charm!   I'm also pretty sure 'where am I' has also been functionality I've tested out once before...   ...the recent stories regarding Cortana here have been oddly lagging behind from at least when I notice these features being released.   - posted on my Sprint Samsung ATIV S Neo
  • I finally figured that if you hold the Serach you don't have to do the two step of starting Cortana and then hitting the microphone button that's way easier. I wish it could listen like google voice does now, that could be a good option to add, Hey Cortana could wake it maybe? I can tell any celebrity age, I asked for Joan Rivers, daaaaamn she is 81????
  • When you ask "What time is it?"  she finally SHOWS the time... but doesn't say it yet :( Also for people NOT in the US.... you can now ask "What's the weather in Celsius?" the first time now and she does it celsius :D
  • She has been able to tell how old people are since day 1.
    After you ask her how old someone famous is like (bill gates or Barack Obama) you can then ask her "how old is HIS father"? she can go up the family tree. And then "who is his wife" etc again, this was questions she answered day 1.
  • She ?!
  • Cortana is getting better daily.
  • Yeah,it now has big tits too!
  • She will tell you most public figures ages and their spouse. Ask who is ____ married to?
  • Seriously? Articles like this remind me of parents pestering friends with their todler updates. Ooooh look, he can drool out of the left side of his mouth now. Isn't it adorable. ;)
  • Any one have cortana on htc 8s ???