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Microsoft Gives Cortana An Identity Crisis

Microsoft has been working on Cortana for a long time now, but the plans for its digital assistant are far grander than anyone previously expected.

The first new feature related to Cortana is still a long way from being finished. When Windows 10 launches, Cortana will only be available in seven countries: the U.S., UK, China, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. The reason for Cortana's limited availabilities has been questioned for some time.

Although it makes sense to exclude Cortana in a nation where she doesn't know the common language in that area, what logical reason is there to keep Cortana out of Canada or India? Both of these nations primarily speak English, and French is widely spoken in Canada, so why not enable it?

The reason for the selective release of Cortana is actually caused by the development of Cortana's personality. Microsoft decided that it wants Cortana to be unique to each nation where she's used. Cortana will be programmed to reflect the local dialect of the language used inside of each country, as well as to be familiar with idioms and unique speech patterns that are used inside of that country.

This will help to make Cortana feel like a regular part of the community, but Microsoft doesn't stop there. Cortana is being programmed to understand the humor of an area and to have cultural awareness. For example, in the UK, Cortana knows that self-deprecating humor is popular, and she will use dry humor, irony, and sarcasm when replying to you.

If a country is particularly patriotic with a strong national identity like Italy, Cortana will be programmed to respond in a way that reinforces this cultural value, and will even be capable of singing the national anthem when asked.

In adding these personal touches, Microsoft hopes that Cortana will become more popular and user-friendly than the rival Siri program used by long-time competitor Apple.

Although these are nice features, it is interesting that Microsoft doesn't allow you to choose which version of Cortana you get. For example, someone who has moved away from his home country may want Cortana to speak his native tongue and use a culturally-specific personality. However, Microsoft doesn't appear to have any plans for this kind of flexibility at present.

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  • Giroro
    No, I still don't want to talk to my computer.
    Reply
  • TechyInAZ
    No, I still don't want to talk to my computer.

    LOL. Cortana is offended. :P
    Reply
  • poochiepiano
    No, I still don't want to talk to my computer.

    LOL. Cortana is offended. :P
    And she will make you pay.
    Reply
  • Gracodana
    Hasta la vista, baby.
    Reply
  • jcaulley_74
    Although these are nice features, it is interesting that Microsoft doesn't allow you to choose which version of Cortana you get. For example, someone who has moved away from his home country may want Cortana to speak his native tongue and use a culturally-specific personality. However, Microsoft doesn't appear to have any plans for this kind of flexibility at present.

    This!!! All these companies on the leading edge of technology and none of them see to realize that more than 100 years ago we invented airplanes and are no longer confined to the place we were born. I spent a year in South Korea (military assignment) and realized just how difficult it can be to use the internet when everyone wants to use locality based services and not give you the option to turn them off. Google and Microsoft were the worst. I can't, nor will I ever be able to read the Korean language, but Microsoft insisted that the Korean page is the one I wanted. I was bad enough that I had to use VPN back through the States when going to certain websites.
    Reply
  • Blueberries
    Computers are tools-- not Google robots for consumerists.

    I think Cortana / Siri are a step backwards and I just see it as another exploit that has access to my microphone.
    Reply
  • IInuyasha74
    Although these are nice features, it is interesting that Microsoft doesn't allow you to choose which version of Cortana you get. For example, someone who has moved away from his home country may want Cortana to speak his native tongue and use a culturally-specific personality. However, Microsoft doesn't appear to have any plans for this kind of flexibility at present.

    This!!! All these companies on the leading edge of technology and none of them see to realize that more than 100 years ago we invented airplanes and are no longer confined to the place we were born. I spent a year in South Korea (military assignment) and realized just how difficult it can be to use the internet when everyone wants to use locality based services and not give you the option to turn them off. Google and Microsoft were the worst. I can't, nor will I ever be able to read the Korean language, but Microsoft insisted that the Korean page is the one I wanted. I was bad enough that I had to use VPN back through the States when going to certain websites.

    I'm glad you agree. I am getting married to a Chinese girl, and I have spent several years practicing Japanese. Though I was born in the U.S.A. and plan to stay here, when my fiance comes to live with me I would like her to be able to use Cortana in her native language, and I would like to be able to use Cortana to help practice speaking and listening in these other languages. I feel like Microsoft is missing an opportunity to make Cortana educational, as well as missing the chance to make Cortana more comforting to those who aren't in their home nations.
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    I still don't understand at all how this increases my productivity on the computer. I want Cortana to be able to easily launch programs, search through files like a breeze. I want to say, "Cortana, try to find my file called "work file" on my flash drive, thanks", and then Cortana should do the following:

    -decode my message and understand it
    -Check how many USB storage devices are attatched
    -if there is only one, search it for the file
    Reply
  • sadsteve
    Although these are nice features, it is interesting that Microsoft doesn't allow you to choose which version of Cortana you get. For example, someone who has moved away from his home country may want Cortana to speak his native tongue and use a culturally-specific personality. However, Microsoft doesn't appear to have any plans for this kind of flexibility at present.

    This!!! All these companies on the leading edge of technology and none of them see to realize that more than 100 years ago we invented airplanes and are no longer confined to the place we were born. I spent a year in South Korea (military assignment) and realized just how difficult it can be to use the internet when everyone wants to use locality based services and not give you the option to turn them off. Google and Microsoft were the worst. I can't, nor will I ever be able to read the Korean language, but Microsoft insisted that the Korean page is the one I wanted. I was bad enough that I had to use VPN back through the States when going to certain websites

    I'm glad you agree. I am getting married to a Chinese girl, and I have spent several years practicing Japanese. Though I was born in the U.S.A. and plan to stay here, when my fiance comes to live with me I would like her to be able to use Cortana in her native language, and I would like to be able to use Cortana to help practice speaking and listening in these other languages. I feel like Microsoft is missing an opportunity to make Cortana educational, as well as missing the chance to make Cortana more comforting to those who aren't in their home nations.

    ?? Practicing Japanese to talk to a Chinese girl? Isn't that like practicing French to talk to an Italian girl? :-)

    Anyways, I don't want to talk to my computer either. Now Cortana on a smart phone would be a different story.
    Reply
  • sadsteve
    Dang, I thought I deleted the extra quotes (stuck mouse key, crappy Logitech mouse). Sorry for the multiple quotes.. An edit button would be really nice to have!
    Reply