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Microsoft to add updates to Cortana twice a month

Microsoft’s Cortana is certainly a work in progress, even here in the US where it’s officially available. China and the UK are on the immediate horizon for rollouts, with other regions to follow soon. With all of that work ahead, it makes sense that the Cortana team will want to have a regular update schedule, and much like the Xbox Music app, it looks to be bi-monthly.

In an interview over at Engadget with the Cortana team, updates to the Cortana system will evidently happen twice a month with the possibility for off-cycle updates “for things that are timely, urgent or especially badass." The ability to update Cortana dynamically will ensure that her chitchat (small conversations pieces, voiced by Jen Taylor), will be current and relevant, reflecting any significant cultural happenings.

We’ve already reported on some updates to Cortana, including her voice becoming less robotic and even some new features (which were quickly pulled). That’s all possible since Cortana is a server-side system, allowing Microsoft to push out updates on their end. Pages viewed in Cortana are rendered in HTML5, giving Microsoft flexibility without OS updates on the phone themselves.

Microsoft is focusing on replacing the computer-generated voices with that of Jen Taylor’s (the original voice of ‘Cortana’ from the Halo series), but users should expect new features and the AI becoming more robust in the future. Combined with the heavy task of regionalization (China reportedly needs a voice that "sounded like it was smiling”), and Cortana has a chance of standing out from the pack of Siri and Google Now.

Related Reading

Source: Engadget

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Reader comments

Microsoft to add updates to Cortana twice a month

138 Comments

Great news ! Its good when updates can be done at MS end on the servers rather than rolling out updates to the OS. Makes the process much faster.

Just waiting for Cortana to get released for the rest of the world. I hope it kicks in before schedule just like the Official File Manager.

Well - Imperial UK meassurements are easily stupid but at least the Temperature would be clear to me :)

Wonder if she will be able to present information in KG and KM instead of stones pound and miles

neither is 'ridiculous' imo. its the mixing of the two we currently have in the UK that is ridiculous... why do you think imperial is ridiculous?

Opinions, everyone has them. A person raised solely on the Imperial system like Americans are would find the Metric system just as ridiculous. Best to just accept that different things work for different people.

I'm American and find the metric system 10x easier to use than the Imperial System.  What's ridiculous is that we have not fully switched to metric.

You'd have to explain to your fellow Americans why your personal opinion on ease and "everyone else is doing it" is a good enough reason to switch over and spend the money to make it happen. Just so you know, in school I learned them both and I still prefer Imperial.

Nobody here cares about the metric system. It will not change our lives one bit if we started using meters over feet.

People that go into a line of work that use the metric system will learn it on their own.

I love it in the UK. Beer by the pint, cola by the litre. We buy petrol by the litre and drive in miles. Weather maps. Temp in celcius and wind speed in mph. TVs by the inch and cold meat by the kilo. A pot of jam/jelly is 464g which is 1lb. I have a socket set that is half imperial and half metric. The metric half is easier to sort. They still use a 3/8ths and 1/4 inch drives. I still rather use metric as measurements are easier to add up. 1 litre of water = 1 kilo. Water freezes at 0 and boils at 100. 100cms in 1 metre. 1000 metres in a kilometer. Wonderfully simple. One more thing, in the UK we use celcius for low temperatures and Fahrenheit for high ones. Celcius is also easier to spell..

To be fair, twice monthly = 24 times per year, every 2 weeks = 26 times per year.

(I know in practice the schedule won't be that rigid anyway)

Just searched your name on bing, so i know you know what your talking about. Great work on the phone by the way, love it

So anybody know how to get traffic/weather updates to show on action center using cortana?  not sure if possible. 

 

Only thing i can get to show up in action center are sport scores of my favorite team. 

 

Wondering if there is a way every day cortana app alerts what the weather will be today or traffic when i go home or to work.  Google now was able to do the traffic one, wondering if cortana can do to?

have you added your home/work to places? if so, traffic is an option under interests. It doesn't specify times (unless they're in calendar), but it did pick up on my usual commute times fairly quickly off location services. 

Go into Cortana settings and add places like home, work, etc and she will start tracking when you go to and from these places and give you reminders if patterns form.  Mine took a couple weeks before I started getting regular reminders to leave for work and such.

I know what you are experiencing. Thing is, I did everything everyone taught and, I swear, last week while I was driving I heard my sms ringing and I thought, ok, will read this one later. Then, I got my phone and simple as a sms, it was an alarm from Cortana warning me about the optimal time to leave home regarding getting to work on time, concerning traffic info. See, nothing is in your phone, so expect to have msoft's cloud service related to Cortana getting to your phone. Today in the morning was the first time since that day the traffic alarm didn't show. I'm wondering if it has something to do with turning off the phone and lasting to recover from service? Now seems to be normal again, because of the live tile. Note also this, live tile behavior also changes when this starts working. Calendar input is essential, as stated above. Cheers! My lumia 925 feels brand new! Great. Hope you get this.

Edit: I've also read that she is not very intrusive like google now, so she asks you things before she is certain. So, after these kinds of confirmations maybe she starts working quicker. She should learn things. Look, I know you aren't noob, of course, I'm just sharing what has happened to me. Trying not to be boring. Heheh. Cheers! Brazilian here!

I like Cortana over Google Now I'm finding out as of late

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

I get a Cortana to come up when I whisper "Cortana" softly into my phones mic and run my index finder down the back of the phone's polycarbonate shell.

Awesome! Love Cortana and she's just gonna get better and better untill we are all able to have sex with her! Like in the movie HER. ....Daniel, I know this is going to irritate the hell out of you because there's really no answer BUUuuuuuuuutt ... Please bro, give me one of your well educated, Highly intuitive and knowledgeable guesstimates on WHEN IF EVER! She... I mean Her.... Uhm I mean Cortana might be available in South Africa? Please man, is there hope?

Considering that Cortana is based on Bing; they really need to make a move and release full version of Bing in UK as they have in US! Also need to use Miles instead of Kilometres for distance in Local search and etc...

Maybe the brits should start taking the metric system more serious since they are supposed to use it but just to slowly to adapt

It was due to happen at one point. All road signs made etc but the government chickened out at the last minute as it was coming up to an election and it could have been unpopular. So we have a half arsed system like everything else. Train speed signs are being changed (or have changed recently) tram speeds are always in metric.

I suspect it will be a generational thing. Once the old Imperial (Stormtroopers) Guard are gone the kids will take over with km. Good help us.

Bah kill off metric. I use Celsius but also use miles. I'd much rather switch to Fahrenheit than I would to kilometers.

Dkp23... In Cortana go into her settings. Go to interests. There you will see traffic, weather and so on to setup. She will figure out your work schedule and give you taffuc updates for it everyday

Nice! Like the 2 week development cycle, gives me something to tell my scrum team when they moan about the timeframe.

I'm guessing it would be released when the carriers want to release the updates... If you can't wait for it get Preview developer app and get the preview release like most people here has :)

Why do the Chinese need to feel like the voice is smiling to them!? WTF ?! I'm sure its a cultural thing I'll never understand. Hope I'm offending anyone with my curiosity.

Hey Daniel, you may have made a mistake in the first paragraph: I think you meant "bi-monthly" instead of "bi-weekly." Just a heads-up.

question, isn't bi-monthly = every two month? as oppose to twice a month, which I have no idea how to say... (half-monthly?)

Well, this update cycle seems faster.
(Don't look at me like that. In this case, it's a legit comment) :P

Does Cortina still need a network connection to do basic phone related stuff? When I trialled it you couldn't even do a basic reminder when it had no network.

I have a lumia 520 with Att&t no data $25 plan, and Cortana does everything I need through wifi. When I first installed 8.1 that wasn't the case for the first couple of weeks, it was wanting Att&t's network even when I had a wifi connection

I haven't had my 520 on a network since i got my 1520 and it works on wifi all my reminders work fine maybe it's not connecting to you wifi

Hopefully that would speed up the regional releases as well. Can't wait for her to arrive in Sweden!

I hope they can quickly add configurable snooze options. The inability to snooze Cortana reminders for anything other than 5 minutes is driving me crazy. Crazy!

All I need now is Cortana for non-us.
I'm a HTC 8x user that cant enable Cortana to work on his phone, so getting it working in my first priority.

Any word on when 8.1 will be pushed out to masses? Or, should I chance the developer version on a 920?

I will keep saying this until it actually happens.

Please enable dictating punctuation. The way it works now is generations behind Siri when we used to be ahead...for a couple moments.

I Really want the Japanese version of Cortana since im learning Japanese but I don't expect her to do every language ... Also great news about the update schedule.

It would be interesting to see a comparison how much time people use Cortana vs Xbox Music. Speed up the Music patches!!!

PSA: The title says "twice a month" which would be semi-monthly. In the first paragraph you say the updates are bi-monthly which would be every other month. If I'm paid bi-weekly, that means every other week, not twice a week. Cheers!

Personality is nice and fun but I would rather see some mind blowing features not offered by the other assistants. I want to talk to my phone like I do Xbox One and not have to wake the phone, click on a button and then speak. The ability to speak to Cortana conversationally instead of waiting for a chime to begin speaking. Implement Cortana across all devices to enable for example the ability to verbally ask Cortana on Xbox to review my unread messages and the day's schedule. Or for her to alert me of an urgent tagged work email as I watched TV or played a game pausing the action, telling me the subject and who sent it, and asking if I want her to read/display it. Now THAT would be a true personal assistant.

I've set the language and region to us on my 1520 but i steel don't get cortana.. Any idea's? (worked fine on my ativ s)
Greeting from Germany :)

I would like to be able to have more than one work location in Cortana. If we can, I cant find a way to get it programmed

One thing I noticed is that now anytime I ask a question with the word "you" and she doesn't know how to answer she replies very politely and avoids a Bing search :P

They need to change the news feeds for Cortana . When all your news feeds are from Fox News it makes your app a joke in that category.

What the F abt India where the major WP market lies.We need Cortana here.And also i hate that china 635 gets 1 gb ram.Damn now i'm getting pissed off.