In Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update users will have a new companion in their pockets in the form of Cortana, a personal digital assistant much like Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Now. For those hoping that it’d take on the glowing white/blue face of Halo’s Cortana, you’ll be sadly disappointed.

This information comes via The Verge who has heard from sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans surrounding their virtual mobile assistant. Instead of a glowy whiteish blue face, instead you’ll have a pulsing blue circle that’ll animate whenever Cortana speaks back to you or is thinking about your question. In Windows 8.1 Cortana will replace the standard Bing Search to be your all thinking all talking assistant similar to Siri.

What Microsoft have done here is take everything great from Apple’s Siri and has smushed it all together with the best parts of Google Now. Like Siri, Cortana listens to voice commands and can set reminders, alarms, and contact information, and can also respond to you using your name, or if you’re feeling fruity, have it call you Master Chief. Pair that with Cortana’s ability to sift through your notifications  and emails for textual prompts such as flight information or other mentions in emails and displays them similar to Google and their Google Now cards.

Cortana will be powered by data in services like Bing and Foursquare offering you contextual and location based notifications like Siri and Google Now.

The information and images given to The Verge could change once Microsoft fully announce the software is announced, but as for the news of Windows 8.1 getting a virtual assistant, it looks like it’s really happening.


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