Earlier this year, Microsoft unveiled Cortana, a clever virtual assistant service that is intended to rival Google Now from Android and Siri from iOS. In a recent interview by Search Engine Land with a representative from Microsoft, it is hinted that the tech giant may be planning to provide Cortana for the iOS and Android.
In the interview held at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle, WA, Windows Phone Group Program Manager Marcus Ash explained that Microsoft is determined to make Cortana as ?pervasive? as possible, intending to expand its reach across different mobile platforms and geographical regions. To be specific, his exact words were:
“We want to scale Cortana internationally and across devices. The Android/iOS question is interesting. We?re asking, would Cortana be as effective if she didn?t have access to the details on your phone? We?re still trying to get Cortana adopted on Windows Phone and figure out what it wants to become there. But we?re actively talking about this.”
Marcus Ash, along with Rob Chambers, from Microsoft?s Applications and Services Group, also cited in the June 12 event that their company is aware of the challenges that Cortana would face if integration to other platforms is implemented. A supposed Cortana for iOS and Android would be harder to incorporate flawlessly to non-Windows devices as it would with Windows Phones and other Windows-based machines. One example mentioned by Chambers is the issue of specific low-power requirement to allow Cortana to be activated automatically and quickly.
Nonetheless, Bing-powered apps are already offered by Microsoft to Android and iOS presently. The Cupertino-based iPhone maker has been increasingly eager to use Bing in their web search services ? a move that is seen to diminish rival Google?s widening reach. Moreover, Microsoft recently released a touch-optimized, mobile Office app for the iPad. An Android version is expected to be released soon. In fact, it is rumored that the Android Office might come out sooner than the mobile Windows version. These speculations all the more suggest Microsoft?s willingness to expand its software offerings to other platforms.
Cortana?s search capabilities are endowed by Microsoft?s own Bing search engine. The virtual assistant?s speech recognition ability and natural language processing technology is powered by Tellme, which was also acquired by the tech giant back in 2009. Cortana is named after the popular artificial intelligence (AI) found in the Halo game franchise by Microsoft. Jen Taylor is the actress behind the female assistant?s voice in the Window Phone service as well as in the game?s AI.
Although the topic of Cortana for iOS and Android is still uncertain, what we know now is that Cortana is still in preview version for Windows Phone 8.1 devices. There are rumored plans by Microsoft to integrate the service with the Windows Desktop and with the Xbox consoles, eventually.