A newly leaked video appears to give the public its first glimpse at Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri. World, check out “Cortana.”
The two-minute video, posted by UnleashThePhones.com, shows what seems to be the Windows Phone personal assistant in action for the first time. However, the clip does not include what the system's voice will sound like.
The system, whose code name comes from the popular Xbox video game franchise “Halo," will reportedly perform many of the same functions Siri and Google Now users have come to rely on.
This has begged the question: “What can Microsoft do differently?”
The answer seems to be in Cortana’s ability to learn its user by gathering personal information and remembering searches over time. ZDNet reports that Cortana will rely on the same learning-technology that powers the Bing search engine.
As the video above shows, the technology will require an initial setup in order to learn from its users. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the service requires users to have a Microsoft account. Once that is set up, Cortana will ask users a series of questions, including their nickname, interests and conversation methods.
The Verge says Cortana’s Notebook function, which will store all its user's data in one place, will be a big part of how the system learns its owner. Cortana will reference the Notebook to apply information such as location data, behaviors, searches, reminders and much more over time. However, the Notebook will be an opt-in function that will require user permission for access to any of that data, the outlet reports. This means users have complete control over just how familiar the personal assistant gets.
There is currently no set date on when the system will be available for Windows phones, but it’s expected to come out as a major feature with the upcoming Windows 8.1 update.