On April 2nd, of 2014, Microsoft unveiled Cortana for Windows Phone 8.1 during a demonstration at Build 2014 — a new digital assistant that was set to take on Apple’s Siri and Google Now. Cortana was touted as the most personal smartphone assistant that not only learns your interests but also helps keep track of all that matters in your digital life.
“We were inspired by the popular character from ‘Halo’ who served as a brilliant AI and a deeply personal digital assistant to Master Chief … so we called her Cortana,” Joe Belfiore, Windows Phone VP stated during Build 2014. Cortana was used as the name for the digital assistant and is there for you, similar to how Cortana was there for Master Chief in the Halo video game series.
So how did Microsoft develop Cortana? The company apparently spoke to a number of “real” personal assistants and learned how they kept track of interests and preferences of their bosses in a notebook — hence the creation of Cortana’s Notebook.
Cortana is powered by Bing and learns about you over time based on questions that are asked. She can also detect and monitor the items you care about and “looks out” for you throughout the day, even going as far as filtering out the noise so you can focus on what matters the most to you.
Cortana has yet to make her full availability in regions around the world, which has disappointed many looking forward to using Cortana to her full potential. For those of you lucky enough to make Cortana a daily part of your computing life, go ahead and wish Cortana a happy 2nd birthday!
Further reading: Cortana, Microsoft, Windows 10
— Shane Landry (@shanelandry) April 2, 2016