Microsoft’s New AI Voice Assistant is Already Getting More Useful
You’ve probably heard: Microsoft’s newest update to Windows Phone, 8.1, includes a powerful voice assistant that straddles the line between Apple’s Siri and Google’s Now. On the whole, all three services offer some useful features, though with very different philosophies behind them. Google Now, for instance, is extensible but doesn’t have any personality. Siri is snappy, but unless your company is named “Apple”, you won’t be adding features to her any time soon.
Straddling that line is Microsoft’s Cortana, a voice assistant that’s not only available as part of the next Windows Phone update, but is said to be in development for all Windows 8x computers and even Xbox One. She ships with a sassy personality and plenty of great functionality right out of the gate, but what makes her really special is that any third party developer can tap into that powerful system and extend it with custom functions. Truly, the best of both worlds. So what apps work with Cortana so far? I decided to find out and spent the afternoon sifting through the Windows Phone store, installing fun stuff along the way. Although Cortana won’t be official until carriers release the 8.1 update to their Windows Phone customers, hopefully soon, those of us who jumped on the Developer Preview bandwagon can check her out and a bunch of apps that have already been updated to make use of her, too. Hit the break for the full list of available apps!
Apps that extend Cortana’s functionality:
Cortana Love: A tutorial app to teach you how to use Cortana’s deep feature set.
Wikipedia: Lets you find articles on any topic using just your voice.
Hey DJ!: Just like it sounds!
Add to Contacts: Makes it easy to add contacts from Bing/Cortana search results.
World Time: Check the time anywhere in the world and even pin live tiles via voice.
SpeakAndMix: lets you use Cortana to create custom music mixes.
Quotastic: Cool app full of quotations for many occasions, now accessible via Cortana.
OneGTA: A reference app for Grand Theft Auto fans
Slated: News App that lets you browse blogs or sections with your voice
Voice Web: Lets you open any web page via voice with Cortana
#Quotes: Similar to Quotastic
9Dialer: A voice dialing system. Works with Cortana but seems redundant.
Der Entscheider: A decision making app based on random numbers.
OK Google: A third party recreation of Google’s signature feature, using Cortana
What time is it: A simple app that lets Cortana answer this question. Seems strange she can’t do that already.
Oracle Magic 8 Ball: It’s exactly what you think it is!
We’ll continue to add more as they start populating the Windows Phone store. You can bet that a the wide release of 8.1 with Cortana starts taking hold, we’ll only see more great apps!
As always, if you like what you see, please share!