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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.

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

154 Comments
  • What are some new things to ask her for Chit-Chat
  • You can ask for your name
  • You mean,what is my name? That opens up that rihana song -.-
  • ^  hahaha lol
  • It works for me.
  • I tried "Say my name" and it said my name, happily. At least it didn't sing Destiny's Child as a reply.
  • 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?"
  • +925
  • just in case you forget out of awe.
  • Mine can't. She can say her name (Cortana) but not mine.
  • I hope she would say "namaskar" lol..
  • 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  
  • Keep on dreaming xD
  • sab kuch ka thoda kuch aur kuch nahin ka zara sa LMAO! You made my day!!!  
  • LOL, great convo. If that became real then I don't want a wife :D
  • I like the possible geofencing improvements
  • 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.
  • Yes! This so much!
  • Exciting news!!!!
  • Welcome to India...:)
  • Do not welcome it now.
    Cortana is not coming to India before 2015.
    Never trust the sooner words.
  • Must you be such a pessimist?
  • No,
    I am realistic
  • 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.
  • Is this a sarcasm?
  • Yup. Second half of 2015.
  • No saying prime minister ...president etc...even before official release...so always be positive:D
  • Haha. We already have it in the US but judging by Microsoft's soon response for the UK, you guys have a long way to go...
  • Lol...Most common term seen by a WP owner will be "soooooon"...:D
  • Don't really like those thin lines between the cards. This is not Excel and it doesn't fit with the metro style IMO.
  • Agreed, but they're easily ignorable
  • Sure they do. They serve a purpose, they're not pointless.
  • Yes, they're lines after all.
  • I like Windows Central myself. You could go with WindowsPwn.com though =)
  • I don't think so.... It is now better to see where a topic ends.... It's more cleaned up!
  • I've got them, southeast Texas
  • My wife got it on her Lumia 1020 a couple of days ago, but still nothing on my 920 or my 1020.  Southwest Texas.
  • I got it on my 1020 (that I don't use as a daily driver), but not on my 1520's. South Texas.
  • Still haven't received Cortana update, but 5th!
  • 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.
  • Feel for you bro :)
  • Waiting for wp8,1& cortana to India....hands crossed....
  • July the WP8.1 update should start rolling out.
  • When I ask who is the prime minister of India? She says Narendra Modi! Wowww
  • 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
  • It answers correctly for United States presidents
  • Prime ministers of Australia work ;)
  • Try Japan president
  • It happened very next second when Shri Narendra Modi took oath.
  • No! she replied with Manmohan Singh as well when I asked her the same a month back.
  • he said after taking oath!!that was not a month ago i suppose??
  • NL925 in Jamaica and seeing the update.
  • A fellow Jamaican!!
    Which network you on, Digicel or LIME and do you get 4G LTE?
  • Ask for his resume also..
  • 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...
  • +1
  • I have the update on my Icon, noticed it a couple hours ago.
  • I've got the updates but haven't seen the quiz question that was mentioned in previous posts
  • Head to Cortana app and go dooowwwn to the bottom you'll see it and answer her with yes to begin the quiz
  • Nope. Not there
  • 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?  
  • I have an update from last week and haven't seen the quiz feature as well
  • I asked her what's my name.. She replied correctly
  • 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.
  • Yeah got the new stuff today and I'm impressed! She's actually getting smarter
  • 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.
  • Hi, i dont know why, but my girl (cortana) dont have any update on that. I already try boot and nothing. Any ideia?
  • It looks to be rolling out slowly. My wife's Icon has it but my Icon and 928 do not.
  • Guess Your Girl is No More Yours :(
  • How do you boot your girl??
  • I am able to see the lines between the cards
  • What are "cards? “ Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Something similar to Google now cards.
  • Lol chit chat is improved so.
  • Finally received the Cortana update here, now she calls my name
  • Ask "who am i"
  • Got it all!! Hehehe, 925 & 920 Aus ;)
  • 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
  • You must have set region to US, right?
  • 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.
  • I think I have the new sports cards but not sure
  • 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. "
  • Can Cortana inform me about the FIFA world cup score?
  • Indeed yes!
  • I asked "say my name"
    "you are maddy" yes! She can say your name..
  • Currency conversion works
  • Its good to see India in the post lets wish this actually happened
  • 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
  • Very interesting, I really like what Microsoft has been doing lately :)
  • 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.
  • Can we ask d for cricket updates????
  • Waiting patiently for Australia support. Hopefully it arrives here before wp8.1 does. :)
  • Me too! And some AFL (Australian football league) replies in there would be nice as well... ;)
  • Works pretty well for me in Australia. I use it all the time
  • What are cards??
  • Is the update 8.1 coming to India or not? Please tell me the date.
  • Working for me.. :)
  • Finally available here in Bangalore.
    Except ASKING FOR NAME what extra CHIT-CHAT is included?
  • New live tile animations.
  • Hmmm, haven't got that yet :(
  • Got them just now. The update is slowly rolling out...
  • What kind of live tile animations? Mine just flips. One side the news, the other nothing.
  • Say her- CHANGE YOUR NAME. And hear the reply.. :P
  • she says my name since yesterday!
  • 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.
  • "LOTS" lol.
  • Looking like its live for me here San Francisco at around 7pm
  • I have just received the update, and finally answered the questions for cortana...
    Lumia 1520 in Egypt
  • Ok i like it, the best.
  • I have most of the new changes ..
    Like the news near me.
    And. what's my name..
  • Pretty sure that should read "Distance and Polygonal *spatial* awareness"
  • 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.
  • Cortana and India.. Ohh Yeah!!
  • Is "Special Awareness" supposed to be "Spatial Awareness"? Just sounded funny in context.
  • Got it :)
  • What about Cortana in other countries in Europe? Any update?
  • I cannot update Cortana
  • Its a backend update!
  • Yes we Indians are waiting for Cortana since it was launched first.. Update us for the same whenever it arrives..
  • 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
  • Weather is still in farenheit
  • My Cortana is not showing my interests.... Don't know what is wrong with her..... Anyone facing same problem??
  • Two days ago I had the same problems . Today everything is updated .
  • I think it may be a fake.
  • No it is not. Just a little patience is needed.
  • 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 re