Cortana is an artificial intelligence in the Halo universe. It is also the name of Microsoft’s personal assistant on Windows Phone (and coming soon to Windows 10). When the news of Microsoft’s personal assistant surfaced years ago, many hoped that Microsoft would keep the name Cortana, as it is a character loved by anyone that played Halo. And Microsoft did keep the name; lately it has also continued working on making Cortana more likeable by introducing pictures and making it speak Klingon.
If you ask Cortana questions such as “Where is Master Chief?” it will reply with a picture of Master Chief by the answer. It is not limited to Halo themed questions. Asking Cortana if it likes you will show a picture of a cute note with ‘yes’ checked. If you don’t see these, have no fear, it is coming soon. Microsoft releases updates to Cortana in stages, and some have had these for months, while some have yet to receive them.
Microsoft also sponsored London’s Star Trek conference this week, and in honor of the franchise, the company has included Star Trek themed responses in Cortana. If you ask it to “speak Klingon” it will, and also responds to quotes such as “Beam me up,” “set phasers to stun,” and more.
A digital assistant that is fun, in my opinion, is one of the first things Microsoft should be using to lure customers in. A friend showing you cool things his Windows Phone can do with the personal assistant, or a sales rep inside a store walking customers through Cortana’s functionalities will give the platform the best chance to gain attention.