For what seems like almost a decade, Apple has been the leading competitor for all things tech. They’ve done a pretty good job at staying on top and keeping one of their biggest competitors, Microsoft, at bay. It’s not like Microsoft hasn’t made any attempts to compete or even knock Apple off their pedestal. They’ve made some pretty valiant efforts, even when dealing with mobile tech (which Apple is still currently dominating, by the way). The fact that the company has continued to push its own line of mobile products, from tablets, to phones, to laptops and more, says a lot about how hard Microsoft is fighting back. There have been a few things that Apple has been able to stay a leg up on in comparison to Microsoft. For example, our good friend Siri. Siri has been a friend to Apple users since the days of the 4S, but now Microsoft has their own assistant.
Everyone, it is time to meet Cortana. No, not the same Cortana involved with Master Chief and our friends from Halo, but Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri.
Cortana aims to succeed at some of the things Siri has “failed” at, or isn’t that good at. For starters, Cortana intends to develop a relationship with her user. How is this possible, you may wonder? Well, Cortana will actually learn more about you the more you utilize her. Almost like playing an RPG where you continue to level up your character. The more you use Cortana, the more relevant and accurate she will be with your searches.
Siri can post a reminder for you, and that’s all well and good, but Cortana is a bit more personal with you. You can say something along the lines of “Hey, the next time I speak with Jessie, remind me to ask her about her vacation”. At this point, Cortana will make sure to remind you no matter what form of communication you use, as long as it’s done on the phone itself. She works well with navigation also. Need to remember to pick up that wrench from the tool store? Cortana will remind you.
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Ms. Cortana is also a bit better with speech recognition. When talking with Siri, even in dead quiet, she may not be able to understand you. I should know, as this happens to me quite a bit. Cortana can actually pick up on your specific voice even in a crowded room of people and can distinguish it from the ambient noise around you. While her use of certain kinds of punctuation might not be the most keen, the fact that you won’t have to repeat yourself 14 times makes up for it.
Cortana has her own notebook as well. Think of it as an open journal shared between you and her. It’s where Cortana will actually gather her information on you based solely off of things like searches, types of phone usage, and even down to how much time you spend in traffic. This, all in an attempt to make things easier for you, the user.
Some may consider this to be a bit weird, and even I have my speculations. Having an AI assistant learn more about me as I use her sounds cool at first, but may seem a bit creepy as well. Either way, we will find out how well she works when the beta drops later this year with other Windows phones.