Microsoft's Answer to Siri and Google Now is Cortana

Paul Lilly

Windows Phone is getting a personal assistant

Some still view Siri as nothing more than a gimmick, and perhaps two years ago, that might have been a fair assessment. But with the launch of iOS 7, Siri sheds her beta baggage and is more useful than ever. So is Google Now, which Android fans would argue is an even more intelligent assistant. Regardless of which one is better, it's clear that this is becoming an essential part of the mobile experience, and it's Microsoft's turn to implement a personal assistant of its own. Well, meet Cortana.

You may recognize Cortana as the artificially intelligent character in Microsoft's Halo franchise, and yes, that's who the voice assistant software is named after. According to ZDNet , Cortana could be integrated into Windows Phone software as soon as the early part of 2014, which is when Windows Phone 8.1 is scheduled to debut.

Like Siri and Google Now, it will learn and adapt to your habits. To do so, it will use machine learning technology and the Satori knowledge repository powering Bing, ZDNet says.

"Our UI will be deeply personalized, based on the advanced, almost magical, intelligence in our cloud that learns more and more over time about people and the world. Our shell will natively support all of our essential services, and will be great at responding seamlessly to what people ask for, and even anticipating what they need before they ask for it," Steve Ballmer stated in a memo back in July referring to a family of devices powered by a service-enabled shell.

Though it's possible Cortana could debut in Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft has previously said it won't launch voice assistant software until it has something revolutionary to offer. However, with the recent acquisition of Nokia , we wouldn't be shocked if Cortana came out relatively soon.

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