Cortana Officially Comes To Windows Phone To Take On Siri and Google Now

By Alex Wolfe , Updated Apr 02, 2014 12:37 PM EDT

Voice-activated phone personal assistants are all the rage right now with Siri on iOS and Google Now on Android, but Windows Phone users have been left out to this point.

Well, the wait is about to be over, because Cortana is officially coming to Windows Phone in a Windows Phone 8.1 update, which Microsoft announced today at Microsoft Build. It's not like this is the first time we're hearing about Cortana, but it is nice to finally hear it from Microsoft's mouth.

No, we're not talking about the Halo character, even though that's the inspiration for the program's name. The program will just take the form of a talking circle, rather than a blue female.

The Verge reports on Cortana's official unveiling by Microsoft's Joe Belfiore:

"Visually, Cortana is represented by a circular icon that adopts the same color scheme as your Windows Phone theme. It also pulsates when she speaks and rotates when searching for an answer. One of its cool functions demoed by Belfiore is the ability to answer incomplete questions, such as 'how about in Celsius?' following the initial query of 'what's the temperature in Las Vegas?' The Halo-inspired voice assistant is being launched in beta in the United States, with the UK and China being among the first countries to get it afterwards. "

So the US is getting the first crack at the service in beta form, which is exciting.

It sounds like Microsoft put quite a bit of thought into this, drawing from some of the best features of Google Now and Siri to make their personal assistant. Now that Cortana's officially on the way, will it be enough of a feature to sway you to the Windows Phone badnwagon?

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