Microsoft's Siri Is Based On Cortana, Halo's AI Character

Microsoft's Siri Is Based on Cortana, Halo's AI Character

Microsoft is next in line to build a mobile personal assistant, one that's more than more than a robotic voice that obeys spoken commands. The feature will tie together all Microsoft products. So it's probably appropriate that it'll be named Cortana after the artificially intelligent character in Halo.

Clues of Cortana's existence have been popping up for months now, most recently as an app called "zCortana" found in a leaked early version of the Windows Phone operating system.

Bing director Stefan Weitz also alluded to the fact that Microsoft was building a competitor to Siri and Google Now but wanted it to be much better. "We are not shipping until we have something more revolutionary than evolutionary," he told CNET in July. "There are teams working hot and heavy on this right now."

That same month, outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also alluded to "a family of devices powered by a service-enabled shell." Ballmer's someone who's talked up this idea for a while now, and his vision for what this "shell" will look like is nothing short of ambitious. Ballmer wrote in the July strategy memo:

Our UI will be deeply personalised, 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.

ZDNet first reported details about Cortana on Thursday morning, and The Verge followed up with screenshots.

And so it seems like this "service-enabled shell" is just around the corner, though it's doubtful that it will appear before 2014. In the meantime, Siri's getting better with each new iOS update — though it remains absent from OS X — and Google Now is getting new features on a pretty regular basis.

In other words, the competition in the artificially intelligent personal assistant sector is getting pretty fierce. Even if it can't match the features, Microsoft has one thing that Siri and Google Now don't: a whole personality, not just a face.



    "Magical" Does Microsoft thinks it's Apple now. They tried with overpriced tablets and they were a flop, now they are trying with the same lingo. Give it a rest Microsoft, you've always been the meat and potato guy, not the lobster guy, and that's why we liked you. Don't change, you look like a Trudy try hard.
    PS. Your voice recognition will sound good, but like the others, won't work good.

      *golfclap* Nice Optimism, by all means let's shoot down everyone who even tries =D

      I agree with your sentiment (despite your poor use of grammar and punctuation).

      The last thing Microsoft should be doing now is trying to innovate & we should all do our best at trying to discourage this kind of behavior.

    "...learns more and more over time about people and the world...anticipating what they need..."

    So this is the face of Skynet :P

    Cortana is the new Clippy?

    I'm kinda okay with that.

      Looks like a forerunner installation is about to wipe out all sentient life in the universe, would you like help with that?

      Last edited 13/09/13 10:11 am

        Hahahaha.,.. gold!

        Man, a sexy Cortana assistant is every Halo geeks dream. Could almost get me to leave the Apple garden if implemented well.

    The personal assistant in Windows Phone right now is pretty good already.

    If they can improve it further, then kudos.

      The personal assistant in WP8 isn't great and it's very basic, which is okay but when driving it's a bit of a pain because you cannot do everything hands free plus it doesn't always understand what you are saying. Having a more advanced version would be great and a dream come true for me and let's face it....if it is sounds and kind of looks like Cortana from Halo then even better :-)

      Last edited 13/09/13 11:27 am

    It would be pretty cool if it had Jen Taylor's voice as well.


    This is Meta to the nth degree.

    one thing MS has over android/IOS

    if they build this into native god. Cortana = Jarvis

      Hahaha, yeah is Cortana links between Win8, WP8 and XBox it would be very Jarvis at home (perhaps they need a Cortana skin and a Jarvis skin... would it be too far to also get a HAL skin too!)

        the xbox already looks like HAL (if you make it red)

        google mockups people have made up!

    Will Microsoft work out the the issues with rampancy?

    If they want it to be any way successful in the business world - or with women - hopefully they'll get Cortana to put on, you know, clothes.

    I wonder if she can give you more than voice assistance?

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