Sunday, June 28, 2015

Microsoft gifts user a friend:Cortana

Microsoft go a step further as they release the initial version of the Cortana, also known as the Cortana Alpha, alongside the release of Windows phone 8.1 update.

Well then what is Cortana after all?

Cortana, that derives it name from the Halo AI character, is an attempt by Microsoft to challenge the Apple's Siri as some may frame it. Both the technologies work on common purposes which are built on the now primitive voice recognition and corresponding responses and results powered by Bing.

Cortana offers a variety of handy tools and utilities. From setting crucial reminders to something as trivial as flipping a coin or rolling a die , the Cortana has it all in it. A familiar method of invoking Cortana is just by uttering the words  " Hey Cortana" which is much alike as "Ok Google" on  android hand-held devices.

The artificial intelligence has been beautifully crafted in so as to collect data and correspondingly conclude user interests. For example, if a user checks out an airline flight , Cortana prompts instantly for activating updates for the particular flight. Cortana recommends applications, to the user ,that are popular in the area like IRCTC in India.

Slow typists and lazy users  can find solace as everything becomes voice oriented . Some may feel the accuracy questionable but let me tell you it is phenomenal. The technology matches everything from utterly formal words to something as informal as a "yup".

The 'Quite Hours' concept that reminds me of the Motorola Assist that I have been using for a long while which enables the user to switch of notifications and alerts even calls during night hours and when in a meeting. Calendar clashes are no longer a worry as it flags such a circumstance almost instantly.

One more great feature is that it reminds the user what he wants to say to a particular person when he talks to that person the next time. For example, if I want  to ask my sister about her exams the next time we talk, I would just have to set a voice reminder and Cortana would prompt me whenever I next I talk to my sister , whatever it may be a phone call,text or a chat string. Great!

Overall, Cortana may prove to be a great leap ahead. It has wonderful outlook ,can be easily easily picked out as an animated tile in the menu. The wondrous features give the user personalized suggestions that makes it a great companion to talk to. It is left to see what more is to be offered by this technology, something as simple as booking a movie ticket perhaps! Yet it still remains the alpha version but how hard it answers Siri will be seen as a matter of time.

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