Microsoft Cortana – Digital assistant
Imagine having a secretary, your own “girl Friday”, who:
- Arranges meetings for you,
- Reminds you to pick up eggs in the grocery store,
- Informs you on the last NFL game outcome,
- Warns you about traffic jams.
For: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
Find it on: Google Play, iTunes
It may sound like a fantasy, but that’s what Cortana has actually been designed for.
Basically, Cortana is scarily smart. She thoroughly studies your lifestyle and personality, including:
- Favorite music,
- Your family,
- Working schedule,
- Culinary preferences,
- Places you like to go to.
It even checks your emails and reads the browser history – an extra reason to keep it clean, right??
Cortana absorbs and processes all that data in order to provide you with the most interesting/relevant news and information. For example the release date of the latest “Game of Thrones” episode or names of top 5 beard wax brands.
At first, it may seem that we are dealing with an evil corporation here which desperately tries to spy on you. But luckily you can edit all of your private information in the so-called “Cortana’s Notebook”, erasing the most intimate details of your everyday life.
What is really stunning about this app and all other artificial intelligence assistants is that they have become a lot cleverer for the past 5-6 years. Cortana can actually understand the context of your questions/requests. Rephrase them all you want – that smartie will find something useful anyway.
It will help you:
- Organize your day,
- Remember about important events,
- Set the meetings or appointments,
- Relax – Cortana will tell a joke or sing a tune on your command.
The app perceives both spoken and written input and the more you put it to use, the better it understands your preferences.
Ease of Use
The application is absolutely user-friendly, and as of the beginning of 2018, no reports of slower device performance because of Cortana have been received.
What really bugs me though is that it exclusively uses Microsoft’s Bing and refuses to work with any other searching engine. I mean no offence, but Bing has never been “the sharpest tool in the shed”, and I’m not sure if it ever becomes one.
Another notable shortcoming is about localization: there are still plenty of languages the application doesn’t support, and it’s not known when exactly the corporation finally solves that problem. Before downloading the apk make sure you speak English, Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, or Japanese.
The application has a very intuitive and easy to understand the menu. The voice input option is actually pretty helpful – it liberates you from constant tapping, especially when you’re in a hurry searching for a cafeteria to have a quick lunch.
Cortana is customizable, meaning you can choose its colour: it may be purple, green, blue or black. Yes, I find such a meagre pallet disappointing too.
As for the rest, you won’t experience any problems with controlling it, because the app itself provides you clear instructions.
- Intelligence – it’s pretty smart and quickly learns what you like;
- Versatility – it’s not only an Android app but also it runs on iOS, Xbox One, Windows 10 and soon it’ll be available on Amazon devices;
- You can regulate its work;
- It’s download free.
- Scarce localization;
- It uses Bing only;
- It tends to know everything about you – not a great thing if you prefer to have your privacy fully protected.
To sum it up, Cortana is doing pretty well as a mobile assistant. It can help you plan your schedule and keep important stuff in mind. And also she’s sirenic.