Yesterday, we saw a sudden burst of information about Microsoft’s next generation personal assistant codenamed ‘Cortana’. First, there was a report that Microsoft is planning to release it as part of Windows Phone 8.1 and it will take on Apple’s Siri. Later, there were some screenshots of the early prototype of Cortana running on a Windows Phone 8 device. The screenshots revealed that Cortana is more than a speech assistant, it takes lots of contextual data like location, wifi network, weather, calender appointments, etc to assist you. Cortana will be able to learn and adapt over time as it is relying on machine-learning technology and the “Satori” knowledge repository which now powers Bing. Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet reports that Cortana is not just a Windows Phone app, instead it is a shell that will span across Windows PCs, Tablets, Phones and Xbox. She reported the below to explain it. ...

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