First images of Microsoft’s Siri competitor Cortana have surfaced

Microsoft’s attempts to rival Apple’s Siri are now even more real. The first official images of Microsoft’s “Cortana” personal assistant have emerged, according to a report from The Verge. The feature will reportedly tap into the APIs of services like Bing and Foursquare to provide Windows Phone users with a Google Now-like personal assistant. We’ve known of Cortana’s existence since December of last year, and we expect Microsoft to formally announce Cortana at its Build developer conference this April.

Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update will include Cortana, a personal digital assistant designed to rival Siri and Google Now. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans have revealed to The Verge how Cortana looks and operates, replacing the built-in Bing search functionality on Windows Phone 8.1. While the feature is named after the Halogame series, Cortana will take the form of a circular animated icon instead of a female character. Cortana will animate when it’s speaking or thinking, forming a personality not dissimilar to Apple’s Siri. Just like Siri, Cortana will also allow Windows Phone users to set how they want to be addressed by the voice-activated assistant. Cortana can call users by their name or nicknames like “Master Chief” after the function is enabled in the settings.

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