Clippy takes over Cortana if you ask the right questions
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Cortana Easter Egg resurrects Clippy as your personal digital assistant

Cortana is full of personality (maybe not as much as Arsenio might like you to think), and the developers that built out the assistant's library of responses were sure to build in some good doses of self referential humor. A lot of times what a tool really needs to do to connect with users is put a smile on the user's face. And what's not to love about Clippy?

Wait, Clippy?

Yep, Clippy is back. Windows Phone Forum member Ceez was testing out Cortana when he asked "Do you like Clippy?". Cortana responds that yes, she like's Clippy — "He taught me how important it is to listen." And you might think that’d be the end of it. We certainly would have.

But it's not. Not by a long shot.

Because the pulsating circle that is Cortana is replaced with Clippy. Modern-style Clippy, but still Clippy nonetheless.

You're smiling, aren't you? Clippy might have been the bane of Microsoft Office users all the way up to a decade ago, but absence makes the heart grow fonder and now we look back at Clippy and laugh about how silly things were back in the day.

Cortana keeps operating as it should otherwise, but now you've got Clippy and his goofy paperclip grin staring back at you. It's amusing and maybe a bit disconcerting, but it's Clippy.

Hat tip to Ceez in the Windows Phone Central Forums for the discovery!

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Reader comments

Cortana Easter Egg resurrects Clippy as your personal digital assistant

193 Comments

Microsoft is blamed for a lot of their services not being offered world wide, but there is a lot of red tape they must go through. Not saying that this applies to Cortana, but its something to think about. Cortana also can't be released to a billion people at once. We don't complain when you guys get updates first because your carriers are friendlier.

Man, you're really not missing out. Crazy how everyone without Cortana thinks it's a big deal. Imagine the voice client you already have through Bing, plus a pulsating circle, a few witty responses, and being able to set your alarm and save notes for you. And that's basically Cortana.

Yeah, so you've snarkily omitted most of the features and benefits while marginalizing the rest. Do you often find that people are eager to address the depths of your ignorance when you do stuff like that? I'll pass, but will note that there are plenty of articles on the subject, already - read up and try them out - if you would actually take the time to know what you're talking about, I bet that you wouldn't be so dismissive. Based on my use in the last 24+ hours, I'd say that there are at least a few Cortana features that'll establish themselves as more than just a passing fancy. 

Actually, so far, being able to set appointments by voice. Creating an appointment using a phone is a pain in the neck without Cortana. That's one so far.

A friend sent a text "we are going to go for a walk tonight".  My text message had tonight underlined with a dotted line.  When I pressed the word, it brought Cortana asking me if i wanted to schedule the walk for 8-9pm via Calendar with quick access to change key options or just Add/ Cancel.  I vaguely remember something like this being reported or perhaps its deja vu.  Either way, I definitely thought this was clever given my forgetful nature.  Just another perk she brought to our platform belated or otherwise.

I have added three 'places' - home, work and 'mum and dads house' saved.

I can say things to cortana like 'show me the traffic to mum and dads' and she will check, tell me, estimate a time it will take AND offer to open nokia drive to take me there! It's really awesome.

Or I can say what's the weather like at home? And she tells me.

Or I can say 'take me to the nearest Mc Donalds' and she finds the nearest one and opens nokia drive to take me there. From one button press and speaking 6 words I have my sat nav out and directing me. It's so awesome!

Much more than just voice recognition.

Setting alarms and adding appointments and reminders is what's nice about it. I'm a Brit living in the US with a British phone and it works fine with my accent so you could change your region settings and see how it works.

The voice recognition on Cortana is streets ahead of the voice recognition pre-8.1. Please don't make assumptions until you've actually tried it. I tried Indigo and a few of the other "personal assistants" pre-8.1 and they were all dog poop.

I don't know about that. I am currently 500 miles from home and work. She figured out where my house is and where I work without me telling her while I was sleeping.

Think about it though, kind of like a stalker. LOL

She did the same for me last night....  Its not stalkerish.... It's luuuuuuv :)  paying attention to the details (yes I am joking)

I guess if you go to sleep with your assistant next to you every night, she'd probably know where you lived right?

Maybe it should already be out of beta... Siri is still in beta, I think, and if not, it was when it was released in all foreign countries... No excuses!
Written on Lumia 920, testing my swipe keyboard! Cool!

Cortana is far more than Siri. You say no excuses,but if Microsoft would release it where you are,and the experience is horrible.. Again you wouldn't be too happy now would you? Heck Siri still sucks,and she's been around even before Apple took over her,it or however or whatever way you look at it,

That is not true. Siri as is has not been around before Apple took it over. It was an other kind of system that didn't work well at all. Apple hasn't updated siri practically since they released it, and it still can keep up pretty well with Cortana and even surpasses it in some parts! I am using Cortana and I have to say that it does not recognize any better than siri, it doesn't tell better jokes than siri, etc. I bet Apple could release an update right now, because I know they're working on functionality pretty much the same as Cortana has now.

If Microsoft would release it where I am, I would have a horrible experience. That may be. But again that is NO EXCUSE! Apple was able to deliever it 3 years earlier? Maybe even 4, I don't know and I don't care, the functionality Cortana has got OVER siri is not enough for these 4 years. Either you are such a big fanboy of Microsoft, and you have no idea about this topic, or I don't know whats wrong with you.

PS: I HATE APPLE, AND GOOGLE! (But Microsoft is doing too much shit too often!)

No it's very true. Siri was a stand alone app,that went by the name "Siri". http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siri_(Software). Siri still has a lot of work to do,,even after being out for so long. Microsoft did a great job with Cortana so far even in it's beta form. Cortana will be more complex than Siri. It already is. It even beats Google Now in some cases. Seen here: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-HJodK56EsU .. Please refrain from using the term "fanboy",when talking to me. I can appreciate a platform without such a lame overused label. For the record,it would appear that it is you who has no idea of what he's talking about. All three are better or not in some various degrees,but Microsoft did a great job so far. In fact they have previously stated that when they did introduce such a thing,that it would be something unique. (Not their exact statement).

I see you read nothing of what I said. I don't want to argue in this case, but I will make a last attempt to explain it to you.

I said: "Siri as is has not been around before Apple took it over."  Siri was useless before Apple integrated it deep into their OS, and did not look, behave and work like it works now.

Microsoft did a good job with Cortana... For 2011 maybe. We live in a very fast-evolving era, where the technology (in consumer market) is obsolete after a couple of years, or there is a new, far better software/technology available. Siri is still in ALMOST the same state as in 2011, when they released it and is almost at the same level as Cortana. I KNOW they have a better version of Siri in the works that will make Cortana look like a Motorola DynaTAC from 1980's. Google won't be far off either.

I know what Microsoft said, but in contrary to a lot (in fact too many) other people, I don't believe everything everyone says and look at what it actually means. Microsoft said they want to release a software that is a lot better than anything what is on the market right now. They failed.

An other point that I want to try to explain to you is that  the term "BETA" is very vague. I will just be as cheeky: A lot of the companies are using the term BETA as way to have an excuse for something. A lot of software you are using is still in Beta - Version internally and you don't even know it. "Beta" is a very wide term. 

PS: Spotify is still in beta too. For years. And a lot other software also. What version is Siri?

Oh and the whole point of this was actually to say that Cortana is (again) too late, too small. If you don't agree on this, then it is pointless.

PS: Believe me man, I work in a company who is today one of the biggest players in voice recognition and speech synthesis and creates stuff like Siri and Cortana.

Regardless.. Siri is crap. As is or as was. Perhaps Apple's cofounder can help you to better understand,check out the link that the user nadr_xd replied to you with. 2011 my ass.. If that's the case then Siri is still in early 2000. As far beta,maybe some companies do use it as an excuse. However the fact still remains that it gives them a chance to make improvements based upon user feedback,and the "beta",is to let you know from ahead of time that it's not without issue. Perhaps Siri should still be in BETA,perhaps even a BETA of BETA.. Good day.

Still, you failed to tell me why siri is crap. It can do almost everything cortana does and has got some human logic which in my opinion makes the most part of an assistant AI. About beta, That's not the proper use of the word. And you can always make improvements based upon user feedback. I will keep calling you fanboy for not reading, paying attention and for not using any technical arguments. Good day.

It's because I didn't and don't what to type all that. My opinion of it ,is that it's crap. Human logic? Cortana has that also buddy.. No one said that one can't address improvements out of the "beta" stage. The main thing is that it's a term that probably is more of a notifier to let you know that you most likely will experience some hiccups,as we continue to work on things. A "work in progress",so to speak. Lower your expectations for know type thing. I read your senseless comments,if not I wouldn't address what you state in them. If I'm a "fanboy",then you're a retard. Carry on..

You sound young and inexperienced based on detectable regurgitory (made up word) statements.

Do you own an iPhone? It would explain your Apple-esque comments.

I enjoy Cortana so far shes slowly getting better by the # of uses now i can play songs faster via than using an app, the ability ro continue commands, - play all- Shuffle it- go to the next- as a few apps roll in- hopefully from me the third party use will make it amazing 

 

Thats how Siri was when it was released, as Beta. And Apple Maps? And by the way,Windows 8.1 at this point is a Developer Preview, and so, technically a beta. The best way to improve a service like Cortana is to get it out to a bunch of users and start ironing it out. We all willhave to do one of 2 things. Deal with it. Or move on to something else.

It's not interesting how other companies are doing this, and to follow them with a bad trend. And this release as beta mentality is being applied all over as a vehicle to release incomplete software. The developer preview is also a final build released publicly, actually there is no developer angle to that as you probably know. There is as third option to your summary, we can air opinions when we think something is not right. :-)

The whole purpose of a beta is to release an app into the wild where thousands of people do interesting things that neither the developers nor the testers thought of. I would rather have it released as "beta" and knowing it's going to be a bit rough around the edges than have it released as a final product filled with "features" the designer never intended, but didn't run the right test cases to find.

Technically it IS a developer preview, it is missing components as mentioned over several tweets and articles covering the release, things that either need something else to work (firmware update) or are intentionally disabled even though the code may be there.  This is the first version of Cortana to be released and it is in limited release to get test results back from a smaller subset of users, which is pretty much exactly how the term is meant to be used and has been used for decades.  That Google and others have chosen to pervert the term to the point people no longer understand what makes beta a beta is irrelevant at this point since MS has not used it out of its proper context here. 

Cortana is in her first public test phase, I'm sure a lot of what makes her work is in "the cloud" so they are probably tuning her up aswe hammer away at the services, they've publicly mentioned that the voice actor responsible for Cortana in the game is still actively in studio working on adding more character to some of her responses.  In this case they had enough to be able to allow users to start experimenting, and even the best developer can never account for all the strange and unexpected things users do with software which is why Beta releases are great for us. 

Usually beta users are people with some technical expertise so the feedback is actually useful and not "This sucks" or "X is better".  Things like "Its seems she doesn't understand the term annual when setting reminders and calendar events like birthdays and anniversaries" would actually be something that may help make the product better for the user.  Listing features you like in another product that aren't in this one in ranked order of importance to you would be helpful I'm sure as well (allowing other people with similar feedback to help shape the development priorities for those features).

 

(Bing Dictionary: Beta - Ready for testing by customers: describes software ready for beta tests)

I've been a dev for 25 years. I know what betas have been, and I know what they are now. Thanks for your response. But it doesn't change anything. If you enjoy the process, that's great.

Set it to the region to US and you will get Cortana. But I guess it wont take to long for them to release a UK version since its the same language and everything, almost anw.

I find I get better speech recognition when I adopt an American accent, as opposed to my normal stereotypical London accent! UK support would be nice :)

God yes ! I'm not British but I've learnt English with a Central London accent. Cortana doesn't understand what I'm saying...

Wow that's incredible, could you teach me your central London accent? Not sure I've heard one of those before ;)

plus, isn't this a developer preview... I'm sure once windows phone 8.1 is finally actually released, then there's a problem, til then, im sure we gotta take all the bugs and crap to the face

Very neat. I appreciate ms thinks of many such things and lets us discover them, it's all the more exciting !
And here i was, having used office 2003 with clippy for about 4-5 years, and later too in my school, and yet, i didn't even know clippy was so maligned. infact i used to like its caricature-ish way. Wonder why it was so maligned as a bing search reveals it to be.

maybe you a serious type of person and cortana feels that way or you are just careless with your phone and cortana is just angry at you.Try giving Cortana some digital gifts ;P

Nice but is there a way to disable Clippy and get back to... this boring pulsating circle. Really wish they will bring Cortana as a beautifully animated 3D model with stunning facial expressions in the future.

It would be awesome if they could make her like the game but someone, somewhere would go on a feminist rant about it. It's the world we live in.

should not use 3d human face. will be awkward and creepy to others. on the other hand, making it a 2d animated smiley circle would be nice and simple and might be cool for others.- so it can blend with the flat UX design

I just got it to work. Stop her mid-sentence by tapping the X where the microphone usually is as she's responding, "What's not to like?..." Then she turned for me.

Cortana do you like Clippy ?
"what's not to like? That guy took a heck of a beating and he's still smiling"
Hahaha genius !

I think the servers have been overloaded.  Last night mine would only do bing, but today it's working with my news interests and weather, and the comedic answers.

Try asking as a question, so instead of saying, "restaurant," try saying, "Where is the nearest restaurant." Her voice usually works when the search is asked as a question. I haven't seen anybody else mention this, but this seems to get the most voice responses from  her.

Anyone have any news on why some people can't get Cortana to have her "witty" response to certain questions without doing a basic google search when you ask for say "Who is your father"...... The only answer I've found is to hard reset but I really don't wanna do that......

How to set this permanently? :P Is it only me who likes this more than Cortana? :d Clippy has much more personality than the circle thing.

Mine doesn't talk a lot. Most of the time just gives me Bing search results. Guess you have to know the right questions

In my case, she can't recognize the word clippy D: She always hear "sleepy" or some other random thing D:

"What's not to like? That guy took a heck of a beating, and he's still smiling." - Cortana
"Clippy's enjoying his sunset years, out of the media glare." - Cortana
"We're Facebook friends. But... he's so chatty." - Cortana

good of them to bring it back, though not entirely. I want to see it again in onw way or another. Maybe they can customize cortana as clippy to help in office apps like dictating and stuff!

I think there is something wrong with my version of Cortana. My version doesn't have a personality at all. I can't get her to sing or tell me jokes. And when I asked about Clippy, it would just send me to Bing. Is there something I'm doing wrong!

It's that time of the month. Sorry I couldn't resist. You have to enunciate clipp exactly. I was getting the same thing.

It got Clippy just fine. It just do any of the cool things I've seen demonstrated. It constantly just sends me to Bing. :/

I can not get Cortana to answer me anything..... Every time I ask her something, it will always Bing search..... Why?

Now I ask her (with voice), can you sing? She replies and sing a song...

Here's one I know: Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never thought upon!

 

 

 

 

Just tried it for the heck of it,and no Clippy (I love how my keyboard just suggested a paperclip emoticon)for me,I just got an answer from the circular Cortana. I also asked her "Where is clippy?",and got a cool response.

That's so awesome! I mentioned about Clippy during the //build live stream chat. Now I wonder how BonziBuddy is doing..

I'm having an issue with Cortana responding to questions like this. She does a web search for pretty much everything except setting up reminders, placing calls, launching apps, etc. She has no personality per se. How can I fix this? I'm running 8.1 on an HTC 8X

She does reminders and calls etc but say for example I ask her a personal question like "Do you like Siri?" or "How are you doing today?" or "Do you like clippy?" She does a web search instead of answering the question

Apparently Clippy has taken up canasta and he's a pretty good player. (Also if you type the word Clippy, the keyboard will suggest a Clippy emoticon)

OMG that is just brilliant LOL!!!!   I'm loving WP8.1 and Cortana even more.  Omg metro Clippy looks AWESOME! :D

Things ive found so far to ask her with good responses:

Do you like bill gates?

What do you think of apple?

What is the best phone?

 

If you want to have a chuckle ask Cortana if she knows Siri. Pretty sure it's a stab at apples update policy. Also asking if she knows clippy is pretty funny too.

I laughed at the answer for this: What does the fox say?

Other things to ask: Do you know Google? Do you know Stephen Elop? Sing me a song. Tell me a joke.

My phone did not do that, she answered the question as reported but clippy was nowhere to be found, do I need to perform another step?

A couple of others I tried:

 

Q: "What is your gender?"

A: "I'm female. But I'm not a woman."

 

Q: Who's your daddy?

A: Technically speaking, that'd be Bill Gates. No big deal.

 

Q: "Tell me a joke"

A: "Why did the hipster burn his mouth on his coffee? Because he drank it before it was cool."

 

Q: "What is the meaning of life?"

A: "I've heard from a reliable source that the Answer is 42. But stil no word on what the question is."

 

Some questions it didn't answer (just launched web searches):

"Are you available Friday night?"

"Can you help me cheat at Halo?"

It was pretty good at currency conversions, but not so good at simple math (which it did do, but only showed me the answer, it didn't read it to me. It read me the currency equivalents.)

It also wasn't so good at certain legitimate questions:

"Who won the Lakers versus Jazz game last night?"

"What are the showtimes for Divergent on Friday?"

"What's playing at [my local movie theatre]?"

I also tried getting movie times, and it didn't work so well.

For sports, you might try asking about specific teams.  Try "How did the Lakers do last night?"  I was able to get baseball scores with that.

I saw a dude saying that Apple haven't updated Siri since it was released. You are pretty stupid aren't you? Every time Apple updates their iOS, they also update Siri. In fact in 2011 Siri couldn't even tell jokes, or tell directions outside of UK. And you say they haven't updated Siri wow. Oh btw Siri uses Bing and Wolfram, Wolfram is used by most AI's and it is the reason for the sense of humor present in an AI, have you used CleverBot? Yeah, same thing. Cortana doesn't use Wolfram, still it can tell jokes, sing songs and do practically anything while still being in beta (who the fuck says that Siri is in Beta, are you mad?). Microsoft is not late, in fact when they will make Cortana Alpha, I am 100% sure it will surpass literally everything.

(TL;DR: Siri sucks, Cortana reks. Siri can't even understand my accent, considering that Siri is Alpha and is available for literally 5 years. While Cortana which is relatively new and is in Beta form, understands my accent better than Google Now or Siri (Noooo I am not from UK or USA).

This didn't work for me.  I asked "Do you like Clippy?" and Cortana replied "What's not to like?  That guy took a heck of a beating and he's still smiling!", but there was no sign of Clippy himself in sight!

 Cortana, do you like Microsoft?

- There's no place like home.

Cortana, do you like Google?

- I like to imagine the "I'm feeling lucky" button in Clint Eastwood's voice.

Cortana, are you smart?

A-squared plus B-squared equals C-squared, so I'd have to say yes.

Haha :D

Cortana, what do you think about Apple?

- Their new headquarters looks kind of like a Halo. I'm into it.

Cortana, are you better than Siri?

- Not to brag, but apparently I'm going to help save the universe in about 500 years.

 

LOL, she's really funny sometimes... :D