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Microsoft Announces New Digital Personal Assistant Named Cortana

Apple’s Siri and Google’s Now has a new rival. Introducing Cortana, Microsoft’s take on the Personal Assistant, and will be available with Windows Phone 8.1 .

Speaking at the Build Developers Conference in San Francisco, Head of Windows Phone Product and Design Joe Belfiore unveiled the Halo Inspired Personal Assistant claiming it to be the most Personal Digital Assistant compared to its rivals.

Powered by Bing, Cortana has all the necessary features of artificial intelligence assistants like reminders, vocal updates to the calendar, online searches; with the added feature of allowing certain people in the user’s list to directly reach the user even if said person is listed in a low priority list.

The P.A still sounds very similar to the original voice actor from the game Jen Taylor. Even though Microsoft has already denied Taylor’s involvement in the project back in January.

Belfiore demonstrated Cortana’s ability to respond to dynamic questions about sport scores, weather and search engine queries like calorie counts.

Though the assistant stumbled a bit when asked to convert temperatures back and forth between degrees. He also introduced a new feature of Cortana which is the ability to ask less factual but more social question.

In a short demonstration he set a reminder to ask his sister about her dog. Cortana will now bring the subject up the next time Belfiore contacts his sister.

Cortana will also extend beyond Windows Phone’s native apps, allowing it to connect with third party apps.

Belfiore had Cortana make a Skype call, add a video to Hulu Plus queue and open a friend’s Facebook page via voice command.