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!

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Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.