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When it comes to picking and using a digital assistant, iOS users now have three interesting options: Apple’s Siri, Google’s Google Now, and Microsoft’s Cortana.

Cortana: Microsoft’s New App Takes on Apple’s Siri

Even though Siri is made to work with different parts of iOS and is deeply integrated into this mobile operating system, many users feel that Apple could have done a better job. This digital assistant is designed to bring Web search queries and store simple information like reminders.

Furthermore, it really takes a lot of time and effort to fully explore Siri’s capabilities, since this seems like one of those pieces of software that go against the company’s effort to simplify things.

Contrary to Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana is very young. Actually, this digital assistant has been under development for quite some time, but only recently received its iOS-compatible element. What is important to be said is that Cortana can never reach the same level of integration with iOS, due to the system’s strict security guidelines.

This means that you can’t make it to be your default assistant, which is why Microsoft had to work hard to offer something new and innovative.

Differently from similar applications, Cortana comes with the ability to store and sync your personal information by using a Notebook. This is actually a cloud-based hub of your interests which will only get bigger as Cortana grows. At the moment, there are 15 different categories where you can set up your interests and preferences.

These range from News, Sports, and Finance, up to Reservations, and Academics. I highly recommend visiting this section, since this can greatly improve your experience with this digital assistant.

After using Cortana for a few weeks now, I believe that Windows users will benefit the most.

In contrast to Siri, you are not forced to choose your primary method of input, since Cortana understands both written text and spoken sentences. On the other hand, Siri understands about 30 languages, while Cortana currently supports English and Chinese. Both written and spoken commands are processed quickly, where Microsoft’s creation proved to be exceptionally accurate at voice recognition.

Cortana: Microsoft’s New App Takes on Apple’s Siri

In case you depend on your digital assistant to store reminders and keep you informed about upcoming events, you will be happy to know that Cortana can do the same. However, Cortana’s reminders are located in the sidebar, which means they are isolated from iOS. This is, once again, a security measure made by Apple.

This is something you shouldn’t expect to be resolved quickly, since Apple is known for its firm decision to keep its mobile platform partially closed.

As said before, your Notebook-related information will be synced. This has no value to iOS users, since Cortana isn’t available on OS X. In case you depend on Microsoft’s ecosystem of apps and services, I am sure you will find this application to be highly useful. Those who don’t use Windows on their computers won’t find a needed incentive to switch over.


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Cortana is your truly personal assistant—helping you get things done by letting your PC and iPhone work together. Your schedule, your interests, your people, your reminders—Cortana makes sure all that stuff is available wherever you need it. Set a reminder to pick up milk on the way home while you’re on your PC at work, and Cortana will give you the heads up on your iPhone when you’re on the road. Ask Cortana to make an appointment, send an email, open an app, or help you find what you’re looking for. And it’s not only about productivity, Cortana’s always up for a little chit chat. Ask Cortana whatever comes to mind, her answers might surprise you.

• Set and get location and time reminders across your PC and phone.
• Track packages, flights, scores, stocks, and other important info across your PC and phone.
• Use Cortana’s Notebook to view, edit and manage your interests
• Get information and answers to all kinds of questions. If you’re looking for it, Cortana can help find it.
• Have a little fun in your down time — ask anything, get jokes, and much more.

Click the Gallery for more screens or the Info for additional information.

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Novak Bozovic
Tech editor and architecture student. His stories have featured in numerous online publications covering hottest stories about IT-and tech trends.