Cortana is the personal voice-assistant app for Windows Phone 8.1. The current look of Cortana is both futuristic and minimalist, being represented as an orb with animation. You can activate Cortana in windows 8.1 by the Halo character. It works very similarly to Siri. You can ask for things in natural language, rather than worrying about learning set phrases as you do with Siri.
Cortana can set alarms, make calls and send texts, toggle settings on and off, give directions, play music and find local restaurants. It’s context-aware so, you can follow one request with another, such as “Find me the nearest pizza place” with “How long will it take to drive to the first place on the list”.
You can view what Cortana knows about you in the settings and edit it at any time. Some information she will know automatically, such as the times and locations of your meetings or forthcoming flights. Other information such as your family members or close friends you’ll have to program in, along with your interests.
You can also set reminders, including when you arrive at a certain destination. For example, “remind me to pay my gas bill when I get home”.
Cortana understands relationships so you can say “remind me next time I speak to my brother to ask about the new car”. The reminder will then pop up when you call, text or email that person.
If you’re in a situation where you can’t talk – because it’s too noisy or quiet – you can simply type the request. Cortana won’t speak back to you, instead relaying the information on screen silently.
Cortana makes you smile
Cortana was designed to have a personality. She can chit chat, and is funnier than 50% of your friends (we think). Go ahead, ask her anything.