Cortana vs. Siri vs. Google Now — Microsoft debuted its new digital assistant this week, making the battle for best smartphone secretary a three-way fight.
According to BGR of India
, Cortana aims to obey voice commands just like Siri, and also utilize your calendar, contacts, location, and browsing history to personalize each user's experience much like Google Now. Unlike Siri, whose voice can come off as mechanical, Cortana's voice is casual, friendly, and can carry on a full conversation in addition to individual commands.
Cortana can also perform tasks in third-party apps, doing things like adding a movie to your Netflix queue or launching a particular friend's profile on Facebook.
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Using deeper integration techniques, Cortana can also set "people reminders" that might, for instance, show you a reminder to congratulate your cousin on her new car the next time she calls.
Unlike Siri or Google Now, Cortana saves all its information and searches in a "Notebook," which makes it clear what information Cortana has access to. Users can edit the Notebook to customize Cortana and also to keep her out of places that might contain sensitive information.
At the announcement this week, Microsoft executives explained that Cortana is the name of a super-intelligent being from its popular "Halo" video game series for Xbox. In addition to the cross-department nod, Cortana will also use Microsoft's search engine, Bing, for all web searches — the same search engine Siri uses.
Many experts in the tech industry have concluded that the personal assistant features of Cortana seem to outpace Siri at the moment, however it remains to be seen if it can also outgun the power of Google Now's card system to anticipate user needs and solve them ahead of time.
Overall, all the systems are nascent, and Microsoft did remind Cortana users that the digital assistant was still in beta. It remains to be seen how the systems will evolve and grow over the long term, and how much demand there is for their services.
According to Fox News, a survey of over 2,000 iPhone users found
that only 15 percent of them had tried Siri two years after its debut.
Asked for comment on Cortana's big coming out party, Siri answered with her characteristic cheek, giving a hat tip to one of Apple's most successful slogans.
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