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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.

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.

180 Comments
  • Im deleting nokia mixradio..
  • Hahaha
  • Bill gates my father no big deal ...   ;)
  • I love Cortana's voice. Hate when it transitions from Cortana to microsoft tellme. I know eventually tellme will be removed
  • She will be voiced by Jen Taylor eventually: http://news.xbox.com/2014/04/games-cortana-companion-blog-post
  • HAHA good one! ;D
  • Hehrhahha....
    :D
  • Haha +925
  • Nine days to update my lumia620
  • 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.
  • Jen Taylor is confirmed: http://news.xbox.com/2014/04/games-cortana-companion-blog-post
  • LOL! Can't wait to have Cortana singing on my future Green 1520/Black 930 :3
  • Have never been fond of bright colors in phones but the 930 just looks gorgeous in color. :D
  • I so wanted to get to build so that I could mug Elop after seeing that 930.
  • 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.
  • I don't like the orange one
  • actually i love orange 930. it resembles the orange phone in the movie Her. may be nokia got inspired.
  • I just asked Siri to sing me a song, and she said "I'd rather not". 
  • You should have insisted...lol
  • Wait till Apple innovates how Personal Assistants can sing. /s
  • A new innovation!! A cosmic, space-bunny-light-jump-tele-zip-uberport forward leap in technology!!!!
  • Sounds like marital problems
  • She sounds more human like when she sings. Try soft kitty Daniel.
  • now if you can pick a song for her to sing, that would be awesome....  
  • Really wonder how well she will do compared to siri
  • Siri uses Bing, so it'll be on par if not better is my guess.
  • Since when has Siri used Bing? Pretty sure she uses Wolfram Alpha
  • shes used bing since day one.
  • since ios7 Siri is powered by Bing instead of Google.. Wolfram Alpha is used for analytical results
  • Cortana, what is your favorite sexual position?
  • ...
  • ^ My reaction exactly.
  • 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
  • Is that Cortana saying more settings?
  • inb4 rule 34 Cortana
  • Dude. Seriously? Grow up.
  • Dude. Seriously? Its a JOKE!!!!!!
  • GEEEZ
  • "The position that gets me furthest away from you."
  • 920 internets for you. :D
  • Lmao
  • Haha, I am not the one referring to it as "She" constantly.
  • What are you? 12? with spots all over your face?
  • lol
  • Stay classy. 
  • San Diego.
  • No it san diahhhgo
  • Siri answers Steve Jobs to this question
  • Ask her what the fox says
  • Get out.
  • Lol
  • That's a crazy song.
  • Haha, nice one! Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Unless I remember incorrectly, I believe Bicycle Built for Two was the first recorded song by synthesized voice. Neat that they picked that one.
  • I believe you are correct
  • I believe you DO NOT remember incorrectly :|
  • Same reason it was sung by HAL in "2001: A Space Odyssey".
    "OK Cortana, open the pod bay doors" . . .
  • Everyone asks who her father is....I wanna know who her mother is!
  • Melinda Gates?
  • Come on its Lal
  • Hal
  • Um Hal sounded male to me. I'm sticking with Lal from Star Trek.
  • ...Dr. Catherine Halsey?  Because she is definitely Cortana's mother.
  • Cortana is a clone of Halsey's brain, not her daughter or her creation.
  • "Avaiable only in US for now"... M still in that pain..!!
  • Such a bad news for us :/
  • 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!
  • I approve of this message.
  • Super easy to change your Windows Phone region.
  • Cortana why does George ponder so much?
  • HAHAHAH! that's a good one.
  • Haha
  • Because his father told him to... lol
  • Lmao!
  • 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..
    yet.
  • Ah well that explains it. I thought it may have sounded too good to be true. Thanks for the info.
  • Just as long as she doesn't start with the "I'm sorry Dave," we should be okay.
  • 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. :)
  • if I change the region of the phone to the U.S., I can use Cortana?
  • 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.
  • No, I think it is related to the OS Region in the settings and not the ROM
  • Definitely regional settings, Windows Phone doesn't hard-code regional feature limits.
  • Yes
  • No.
  • Yes you can. Windows Phone doesn't hard-code regional feature limitations.
  • hahahahaahhaahahah
  • She sings one of my favorite songs... Oh Danny Boy
  • I'm wondering if she knows some bad words.
  • Cortana, what windows phone does master chief use?
  • Question: what features will we get with the dev review?
  • All the newest features will be available in the dev. preview.
  • Ah ok. Cool! Thanks for answering
  • Can you ask her to sing you a song from say... Lana del Rey?
  • 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.
  • Yeah, but anyway I'll using Indigo till then, I guess
  • This maybe a dumb question, but can Cortana get sports scores?
  • Yeah man, Joe belfiore did that on the build
  • Had to ask twice, but yep she sure does.
  • Cortana do you marry mee ? lolzzz.....  
  • Cortana: "I am sorry, I can not do that. I am just figment of your childish imagination"
  • When will be ready the REAL cortana´s voice?
  • 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
  • Don't need to chill to enigma anymore
  • But it does not sound like cortana at all
  • :'(
  • Cortana, where are the hoes?
  • On a farm or in the hardware supply store...
  • Is Cortana US only?.... coz according to this site it is... http://wmpoweruser.com/bad-news-for-cortana-fans-it-will-be-us-only-for-quite-a-while/ Can anybody confirm if it is US only?
  • Its US only for a long long time.
  • Yes US only till second half of 2014. Then UK,China. Rest of the world summer 2015.
  • nm, misread.
  • What about Australia, surely the language is the limiting factor? Bing us reasonable here..
  • 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).
  • No you won't. It's ROM dependent.
  • Geez, we'll be here in few days and you'll see that is NOT  ROM dependent.
  • Actually it is. Sorry to disappoint.
  • Gimmicky but its still cool
  • Yo Daniel, Is there ANY way to access Cortana on a non US device ?
  • ^This^
  • Everyone, meet my new girlfriend.
  • I laughed. https://twitter.com/CortanaSays/status/451528875701317632
  • 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.
  • That and always listening will come in future updates, hopefully...
  • 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.
  • Found that annoying myself, but I'll take it and will still use the heck out of this feature.
  • I can't wait to get cortana in August...
  • 2015?
  • No, he meant "I can't wait to get Cortana in August of 2016 because I'm on At&t :'("
  • Lol!
  • 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.
  • silly questions might bring more customers
  • 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.
  • Agreed.
  • 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?"
    Really!????
    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...
  • You know so much.
  • 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.
  • and siri isnt used for the exact same thing?
  • 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  
  • They don't use voice assistant because they are shy in public..
  • Shy, or considerate?
  • Why have there been no Halo related questions asked of Cortana? I have so many questions about the flood, and the covenant!
  • That's the FIRST thing I'm talking to Cortana about!! HALO!!! :)
  • 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.
  • Lol❗❕❗❕❗❕
  • Awesome!!
    +1520!!!
  • and siri doesnt do the same thing?
  • Who was comparing to siri?
  • US only :(   I hope they release it in Canada too. 
  • Same thing
  • Question: How much data (KB or MB) does each question use?   This could be a big deal for people with small data plans.
  • That's cool an all but I'm alil disappointed that's its not Jen Taylor's voice
  • Ask her what is the best phone. Back in days Siri said Lumia 900 was the best)
  • ask her for a joke please ;)
  • 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"
  • Slightly more entertaining the a fart app
  • 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. 
  • Cortana: what app is draining mt battery.
    Reply : why me you silly person
  • Guyzz ,a bad news - cortana will not be releasing in India and some other countries until 2015 :(
  • Lol Bill
  • Quick question. TellMe had male voices... Cortana is technically only female so there are no options for male voices right? Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • I'm wondering if I will get cortana on my Lumia 1320 that's I have on AT&T?
  • The phrasing needs some work to sound more natural.
  • Cortana is not answering me corectly....rather it is searching every thing on bing....is der any solution
  • If you say "guess what," she will sometimes say chicken butt
  • Sam is better