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Cortana
Microsoft Cortana transparent.svg
Cortana.windows10.png
Cortana on Windows 10 (pre-2004 update)
Developer(s) Microsoft
Initial release April 2, 2014; 7 years ago (2014-04-02)
Operating system Windows, iOS, Android, Xbox OS
Platform

(Coming Soon)

Available in
Type Intelligent personal assistant
License Proprietary

Cortana is a virtual assistant developed by Microsoft, which uses the Bing search engine to perform tasks such as setting reminders and answering questions for the user.

Cortana is currently available in English, Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese language editions, depending on the software platform and region in which it is used.

Microsoft began reducing the prevalence of Cortana and converting it from an assistant into different software integrations in 2019. It was split from Windows 10's search bar in April 2019, and was removed from iOS and Android in certain markets on January 31st the following year.

Functionality

Cortana can set reminders, recognize natural voice without the requirement for keyboard input, and answer questions using information from the Bing search engine (e.g., current weather and traffic conditions, sports scores, biographies). Searches using Windows 10 are only made with Microsoft Bing search engine and all links will open with Microsoft Edge, except when a screen reader such as Narrator is being used, where the links will open in Internet Explorer. Windows Phone 8.1's universal Bing SmartSearch features are incorporated into Cortana, which replaces the previous Bing Search app which was activated when a user presses the "Search" button on their device. Cortana includes a music recognition service. Cortana can simulate rolling dice and flipping a coin. 'Cortana's "Concert Watch" monitors Bing searches to determine which bands or musicians the user is interested in. It integrates with the Microsoft Band watch band for Windows Phone devices if connected via Bluetooth, it can make reminders and phone notifications.

Since the Lumia Denim mobile phone series, launched in October 2014, active listening was added to Cortana, enabling it to be invoked with the phrase: "Hey Cortana"; it can then be controlled as usual. Some devices from the United Kingdom by O2 have received the Lumia Denim update without the feature but this was later clarified as a bug and Microsoft has since fixed it.

Cortana integrates with services such as Foursquare to provide restaurant and local attraction recommendations and LIFX to control smart light bulbs.

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