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So what's with Cortana?

Cortana is a personal assistant that will be on your Windows 10 update. Most people are a little off put by the thought of this feature on their computer, but there are some pretty cool features about it that you may not realize. It learns as it goes, and this might seem a little futuristic, but it is extremely helpful. You can tell it to make appointments, to tell you a joke, write an email out or to make a note. It was designed to learn how you act and to help you based on what it learns from you. It has a personality, and if you don’t like something that Cortana says, you can tell it “no thank you Cortana” or “That’s not nice Cortana, please don’t” and it will not do whatever it may be that offended you. The designers spent countless hours going over questions that Cortana would encounter on a daily basis, if she cannot answer the question, she will simply redirect you to a Bing page.

The name Cortana started as a nick name from the blue lady on the game Halo, the person who does the voice of her also does the voice for Windows 10 Cortana; when word got out that its nickname was Cortana, a petition was started to keep that name, and thus the name Cortana stuck. Unlike the blue naked lady in Halo, Cortana is a pair of concentric circles that throb with regular cadence, like a heartbeat. But, BOTH Cortana’s are voiced by the same lady, Jen Taylor.

One big question that the Microsoft team had was “How should the ideal personal assistant act?” to find out, Microsoft interviewed personal assistants from Hollywood executives and technology CEOs. The one thing that they had in common was extremely detailed notes about their bosses, usually in a notebook that the personal assistant was glued to. Those notes included anything from what they ate for lunch, to what their favorite music was. To do their job well, the personal assistants had to be able to anticipate their boss’s desires and be able to make them on their behalf. Cortana will have access to your calendar, emails, vacations, family photos, you name it and Cortana probably has access to it.  Users will be able to see what data Cortana collects, see what she does with it and then have the opportunity to change it.

A unique thing that Cortana can do is “chit-chat” with its user. If you ask her if she likes dogs, she will give you a witty response.  Testers have found that the more that they talk with her, the more they treat her like a human. They catch themselves saying “Please Cortana”, “Thank you, Cortana” or apologizing to her. Being able to provoke these sorts of responses to a computer program makes you feel more connected to her, trust her more and you feel that you can rely on her.

Let us know how you feel about Cortana, or if you have any questions on how she works. Please visit our website at, or visit us on Facebook at Kitsap Networking Services!


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