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back to article Back off, Siri! Microsoft debuts Halo beauty Cortana

Windows Phone took center stage at the opening keynote of Microsoft's Build developer conference on Wednesday, with the main spotlight falling on Cortana – a new personal digital assistant designed to compete head-to-head with Apple's Siri and Google's Google Now. Redmond has been promising a major revision to its smartphone …

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"Cortana .. powered by Bing.. understands the entire internet. You could say she understands everything about the world." -- Joe Belfiore, corporate VP of Microsoft's operating systems group.

What a bloated sack of sales shit this guy is.

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Meh

"Cortana is powered by Bing,"

Holly has an IQ of 5000.

We all know how that turned out.

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Joke

Re: "Cortana is powered by Bing,"

If I remember correctly, isn't that the combined IQ of 5000 PE Teachers?

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Re: "Cortana is powered by Bing,"

You are selling Holly short... his IQ was 6000.

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Queeg 500

Well - it has a 6 in it.

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Pint

Re: Queeg 500

"Well - it has a 6 in it."

And it's not 6000.

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Devil

"You can even give Cortana commands, such as, "Set a doctor's appointment for 8am on Tuesday," and the software will update your calendar accordingly."

Yes, but will it call the doctor to make an appointment for you?

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Re: Queeg 500

What is it?

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Re: Queeg 500

Six.

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Halo halo halo

"Cortana .. powered by Bing.."

No wonder she is going mad at the start of Halo 4 ...

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Anonymous Coward

Playing catch-up again are we?

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MS/Office broke Track on my Expertise

I need Cortana to refresh my memory about Excel and PowerPoint. Forcing me out of NT into Vista before wiping my ability to find stuff, even though I went back to W7/Office2007 was a dirty trick. Mandatory software amnesia is just as unethical as experimenting on prisoners.

Listen to me Cortana! Find the math functions and conditional formatting I used in my PowerPoint "Applied Math Withdrawal Symptoms" and let me modify the Excel workbooks containing the math.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MS/Office broke Track on my Expertise

C'mon, Excel can't even cope with date and time in ISO 8601.

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Personal Assistance with My Stuff means AI support

Dumbo PR line of thought lead MS to Scroogle itself and disrespect its user needs. AI support to Excel Users means correlating individual's uses with big data records of all Excel instances. Walling off data from phishing etc.by encryption is part of the solution. and improving Excel by mining anonymous ranking statistics on the most frustrating user experiences can only help improve the Excel App.

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""Cortana is powered by Bing," Joe Belfiore, corporate VP of Microsoft's operating systems group, explained during the Wednesday Build keynote. "So she understands the entire internet. You could say she understands everything about the world."

This sentence makes me cross. It is not true; and that's just the start of where it's wrong.

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Unhappy

@ moiety -

. . . >

This sentence makes me cross. It is not true; and that's just the start of where it's wrong.

<

While you are completely right, there is the detail that when Mr. Jobs said similar things about Siri every fanboi ejaculated involuntarily.

Sales hype, everyone does it (unfortunately).

I take it that the continuation of it's wrongness that you hint at is the storing of query data at MS. I agree, that makes it unusable for me.

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LDS
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Re: @ moiety -

Should we reminde Cook said "Apple is working to make the UNIVERSE better" (capital mine)? When it comes to marketing, they have no shame.

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R69

"You could say he/she understands everything about the world"

This sentence is also true of most of the uni graduates Iwhen they first enter the workplace - before their spirits have been crushed by the faceless corporate machine!

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R69

And Joe Belfiore is powered by Dung

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@R69

Male Bovine Dung I assume

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Yes, Microsoft insists on referring to its new assistant software as "she" – perhaps the folks in Redmond have never heard of a male personal assistant before – and has given it a female-sounding synthesized voice to match.

I think I'd quite like a phone assistant with a male voice similar to KITT (the 1982 version, of course). A sort of wise and friendly butler-ish voice.

p.s. I also like a female voice for a phone assistant too, I'm just saying it doesn't *have* to be female.

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In the preciously seen builds there was a setting that allowed you to choose male or female voice.

As the only use I'd have for voice control is to send texts to people while driving, I'll get interested when it does something intelligent with the Irish and other non-English names in my phonebook. "Intelligent" means asking me how to pronounce them when it doesn't know (or gets it wrong). This is a problem that can't be solved by just evolving the backend, as that can't discern cases of the same written characters having different pronounciations like "MarIE" and "MARie" (I know one of each); "LAUrence" (Male English name) and "LaurENce" (female French name); "Jan" (Dutch, male) and "Jan" (English, female) and so on..

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Guess this is one product that will fail the "wife test"

Nothing could wind up my wife as fast as Nokia's "girl in command" standard GPS maps voice. This was one of the key sell points for her to move to Android and Sygic which operates using a classic "I am your butler, how can I serve" you style voice.

I would love to test this new and wonderful product on her. My only problem is that I would have to pay for the repairs demolished Carphone Warehouse shop after the test. That and the dent in the salesman skull too.

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"As the only use I'd have for voice control is to send texts to people while driving, I'll get interested when it does something intelligent with the Irish and other non-English names in my phonebook. "Intelligent" means asking me how to pronounce them when it doesn't know (or gets it wrong). This is a problem that can't be solved by just evolving the backend, as that can't discern cases of the same written characters having different pronounciations like "MarIE" and "MARie" (I know one of each);"

Having had the pleasure of attempting to explain at times to various USAians that no, it's not MarIE, it's MARie, and yes that is a perfectly valid Irish pronunciation of the name, I await the freezing over of hell that your request involves in the sure and certain expectation of its non-arrival.

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Re: Guess this is one product that will fail the "wife test"

Just change the voice for her in settings. I am currently using "Surfer dude". Occasionally I forget until I head towards the motorway and it advises me to "Take a left onto the motorway. Put the pedal to the metal and lets see what you have under the hood dude!".

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You MS haters are amusing!

Let me tell you gentleman something. Microsoft is firing on all cylinders. There aren't any empty parking spaces in the parking lots in Redmond. There's lots of good news, lots of energy, lots of work going on. The stock price has been surging. They got their mojo back.

You can hate on them all you want while making believe they are the same Microsoft you came to hate but I think you are going to be disappointed and proven wrong.

Thus spake largefile on 4/2/14!

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Re: You MS haters are amusing!

So they're going to get all the way up to 5% in the phone market? I'm sure Google and Apple are trembling!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You MS haters are amusing!

"Let me tell you gentleman something."

Are you only telling one of us something? Can't the rest of us know too? I want in!

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Re: You MS haters are amusing!

The problem is, Microsoft may be firing on all cylinders but usually that is pushing the juggernaut in the wrong direction.

Microsoft's main problem is the people running the company do not actually understand what they are producing. Let us take Windows. Windows 8 could have been a rather good product. Instead, they saw Apple's more cohesive OS strategy and thought 'WE WANT THAT because people are buying it therefore that is what we must produce' and then promptly tried to tie it to the desktop thinking that it was new, exciting, and everyone would want a bit. They ignored people who actually used their products day to day and formed the majority of their market; they ignored common sense.

Windows phone 8 I had for a while, and it was rather refreshing to use. There were some really good ideas, it was presented nicely, was a wonderful work flow for a mobile device and I still wish my Android worked the same in a lot of ways. Shame they screwed up on two simple things, (for me), THe email client wasn't flexible enough for me (K9 ftw) and the music player was just dire and playable formats just crippled. Two mainstream applications for a mobile device, and they didn't really pay them much attention.

Meh..:/

So Microsoft do have the tech nouse to produce decent stuff, they just seem to be ran by idiots. Steve Jobs may have, to my mind, been completely plain wrong in some aspects, but he, at least, had a vision that clicked with a lot of people.

Microsoft are like the child that shows so much promise and can astound you with brilliance, then goes and paints the bedroom wall with their own shit.

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Re: You MS haters are amusing!

Thus spake largefile on 4/2/14!

Two whole months ago?

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Devil

Re: You MS haters are amusing!

MS- you are just being Siri now.

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Re: You MS haters are amusing!

"Microsoft is firing on all cylinders."

Yes, an antiquate single-cylinder, 2-stroke in desperate need of a tune and fresh oil.

"There's lots of good news, lots of energy, lots of work going on."

There's lots of PR puffery and a fair amount of FUD spreading too (e.g. Munich). There's also a lot of panic back-pedalling too (e.g. Win 8 Start Menu).

"The stock price has been surging"

Back to ~1999 levels you mean. Remind me...when did they get convicted of monopoly abuse?Ah yes, 2001 and it was a steady slide into their nadir of Feb 2009. If you don't go bankrupt, you stock can only really go one way - regression to the mean. That's what's happened to MS. Not that surprising really.

"They got their mojo back."

They never *HAD* any mojo. That's the point of MS. Staid, dull, drab, boring. The mojo was off with Apple and has almost always been with F/OSS (that roiling cauldron of innovation, crazy plans and actual competition).

"You can hate on them all you want"

I don't hate them. I utterly despise them and am disgusted that I have to work with their septic shit every day. Although I am slowly managing to migrate away from it to tools that actually work and don't phone-home.

"while making believe they are the same Microsoft you came to hate"

Oh, but they are. I think the continuing issues over the Windows Tax (I am told it's near impossible to remove Win 8 without first accepting the EULA), the Android Tax, the ODF FUD being spread, the OOXML clusterfuck, the SecureBoot fiasco and so on give us plenty enough reason to not "hate" MS, but to avoid using any of their products whenever possible.

"I think you are going to be disappointed and proven wrong."

See above.

"Thus spake largefile on 4/2/14!"

I think you'll find you didn't.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You MS haters are amusing!

Somehow your joke alert icon has been misplaced and wound up on _RCH_'s post above.

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Re: You MS haters are amusing!

Two whole months ago?

No, he's just got to mangle the date for Access.

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Re: You MS haters are amusing!

There's lots of PR puffery and a fair amount of FUD spreading too (e.g. Munich)

Whatever happens -- don't mention Munich!

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Re: You MS haters are amusing!

yes but unfortunately for you, microsoft will never go bankrupt and on patents alone will make more a day than you do a year.

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LDS
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Joke

A female assistant good at sports results?

C'mon, that's impossible! This is pure marketing s**t!

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Coat

Re: A female assistant good at sports results?

Winfone User - Cortana, whats the latest score for today's match?

Cortana - Wouldn't you rather know the directions to and opening times of the nearest Ikea?

Winfone User - No, just the score please.

Cortana - It's still open, and if you leave now you can get there before closing time. They have a lovely set of lilac plates on special offer today.

Winfone User - Jeez, suit yourself. Where's the TV remote?

Cortana - Don't you talk to me like that!

Winfone User - I'm sorry, I didn't mean it, now where's the blinkin' remote?

Cortana - <Sulky voice> It's on your left.

<Futile search commences>

Cortana - No, the other left.

<Winfone User switches on TV and settles down to watch the match.>

Cortana - What are you thinking about?

<Silence>

Cortana - Don't you ignore me!

Winfone User - Oh jeez...

...

Yes yes, I know, gratuitous sexual sterotyping, mea culpa, I'm going...

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Hello and welcome...

The the bandwagon of no original ideas! We do have lots of hyped bullshit though.

Digital assistants like that don't work, I have an iPhone - Siri was turned off out of the box because

they works perfectly in the house where and when my hands are free, the second I actually need it, there is either no 3G coverage, or its to slow to work. Secondly there is background noise like in the car and whilst it works, it so garbled to be no use at all. Might as well just not bother. I might try it again but probably not.

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Cortana looks and sounds great from what I've seen and heard. While Microsoft isn't the first to do this kind of thing (are they ever first?), this could make a difference to the users. I know I'm looking forward to seeing some of the other features (or 'delighters' which is a word I don't really like but JB kept using it) when it comes out later this month for those with the free developer accounts.

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FAIL

I would rather have red-eye HAL or blue-eye SAL

this could make a difference to the users

No.

The whole anthropomorphization thing of a search algorithm is childish and annoying. Giving it "female" attributes smacks of someone who doesn't understand that the target audience is not the young male adult gaming/movie audience. FFS!!

MICROSOFT FAIL! (with apologies to The One Who Shall Not Be Named)

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Curious

In the interests of equality, should the gender/race of these "assistants" not be configurable?

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Re: Curious

... and perhaps not naked (see link in story).

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Bing...

Ah. I searched Bing Maps for Victoria Park, Bath.

It returned a number of Victoria Parks in my area, but not the one I was standing in the middle of. My current location on the map had "Victoria Park" labelled on it.

I think they still have a little way to go before world domination.

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Re: Bing...

I did it on Google and Bing and they both came up with Royal Victoria Park in multiple forms.

Seems like browsers and assistants in general won't rule just yet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bing...

They knew where you were and assumed you wanted directions to somewhere else... makes sense to me.

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Be thankful for competition

Doesn't matter if you don't use Windows Phone or if you're a Microsoft hater. The fact that there's more competition is good. I know there's a huge gulf in ownership percentages between Android, iPhone and WinPhone but Apple in particular have seen their percentages slowly eroding and WinPhone percentages slowly rising, to the point that some countries are seeing iPhone sales slip behind WinPhone and certainly enough to get them focussed, if not nervous (yet). Designers and developers at Apple will be studying WP8.1 very closely and anything they see that is better than what they offer they'll find ways of emulating or improving on themselves. Apple being a much bigger competitor to Android, the same scenario will ultimately play out with Android designers/devs. Which means that Microsoft will have to pick up their game further. Around and around the cycle goes and we all end up with better features.

Competition is good. Oh, and real digital assistants don't eat lunch, or something.

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WTF?

Oh great ...

another annoying Biatch reminding me of things I'd rather "forget" ...

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Don't understand the name

Why is it named after a 1970's Ford saloon?

Will it be inefficient, prone to fall apart and extremely conservative in it's design and technology?

(Whoops my mistake, Cortana, not Cortina)

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