As I’m sure you’ll be aware, Cortana is a “digital assistant” similar to Apple’s Siri which was first demonstrated at Microsoft’s BUILD Developer Conference in San Francisco last April. The digital assistant is currently still in Beta and is available exclusively to all Windows Phone 8.1 devices and also Microsoft’s Band wearable device.
Microsoft also recently announced the Cortana will be available in the next version of its popular operating system Windows 10. And now, according to recent reports, it seems as if the software giant is intending on expanding Cortana outside the company’s own product range by making it compatible with both Android and iOS devices, known as project Einstein.
While both Android and iOS devices have their own equivalent to Cortana with Google Now and also Siri respectively, Microsoft firmly believe that its work on speech recognition, search and machine learning will let it transform its digital assistant into the first intelligent ‘agent’ which anticipates users’ needs. Eric Horvitz, managing director of Microsoft Research and is part of Einstein project, said in an interview:
This kind of technology, which can read and understand email, will play a central role in the next roll out of Cortana, which we are working on now for the fall time frame.
Apple’s Siri has seen the odd update here and there, although no major new features have been seen for a while, in addition it doesn’t really have the ability to try and work out what the user might want proactively, whereas Google Now does have that ability to display “Cards” to the user which it believes will be of use; for example if there are any delays on the roads before your journey, it will show you this information as a card, while it does work, it’s fairly limited. However, with Cortana, Microsoft are hoping to make it a really rich user friendly experience with vast amounts of relevant information based on what the user has asked, along with what the user might ask.
No official information is available as yet to establish how long we might have to wait to trial Cortana on our iOS or Android devices, hopefully we might find this out sooner rather than later, and as soon as we do you can be assured we’ll let you know.