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New Details Surface: ‘Cortana’ Personal Assistant to be a Shell Across All Devices (“almost magical”)

September 13, 2013 No Comments

The internet has been buzzing since word got out that Microsoft was working on a personal assistant codenamed ‘Cortana’. Not only because ths is a Siri (Apple) competitor but because the name Cortana is a big character from Microsoft’s popular Halo franchise. Windows Phone, Xbox and Halo fans alike are even voting to try and keep that name even after it releases. Folks (including me) are begging for the name and character to be a big part of this service. They even have almost 10,000 votes and it hasn’t even been a day yet. Now Zdnet’s Mary Jo Foley has gone back to a Steve Ballmer memo back in July that actually talks about the service.

 Mary Jo Foley - Zdnet

In Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s strategy memo from July about Microsoft’s reorg, there were hints about Cortana. Ballmer mentioned that Microsoft will be working, going forward, on “a family of devices powered by a service-enabled shell.”

That “shell” is more than just the Metro/Modern/tiled interface. Ballmer continued:

“Our UI will be deeply personalized, based on the advanced, almost magical, intelligence in our cloud that learns more and more over time about people and the world. Our shell will natively support all of our essential services, and will be great at responding seamlessly to what people ask for, and even anticipating what they need before they ask for it.”

The coming shell won’t simply surface information stored on users’ phones, PCs and consoles like a search engine can do today. It also will “broker information among our services to bring them together on our devices in ways that will enable richer and deeper app experiences,” Ballmer said in his memo. (That “brokering” is handled by Bing’s Satori, which intelligently interconnects entities, i.e., information about people, places and things.)

This is even better than expected! A shell across all Windows devices that is advanced enough to actually be a virtual assistant. This is Microosft’s big chance to do something an actually get free publicity as everyone is pretty pumped up about the service and the Cortana name. This is Microsoft’s chance to strike while the iron is hot and all they actually have to do is just listen to what fans are asking for.


Thanks to everyone who sent this in…


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