Microsoft announced today that it is launching Cortana (its Siri competitor) in four new countries in Europe: France, Italy, Germany, and Spain.
"When we introduced Cortana as a beta as part of Windows Phone 8.1 in the U.S. this past spring, she generated worldwide interest and excitement which was amazing to see," says Microsoft's Marcus Ash in a blog post. "With the Windows Phone 8.1 Update we announced last summer, we extended Cortana’s availability as a beta into China and the U.K. Since then, we have been working very hard to continuously deliver updates including making her available in more languages."
"Alpha means that Cortana is new to these countries, most of the features in the beta version are available but some are missing or coming soon," says Ash. "For example, flight tracking is not available at this time for alpha. Transit data is currently limited to larger cities and will expand as we have more data. Additionally, reference data (e.g. “How tall is Mt. Everest”) is also not available – but we’re working hard to enable this soon! We have also worked hard to tailor Cortana’s personality in each language (with local chit chat and jokes) to make her more locally and culturally relevant (i.e. make sure she fits in!). Cortana will also show European football (or as we Americans call “soccer”) league data, including Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1, and La Liga."
Availability in the new countries comes with an update that's currently rolling out. It will be available through the Windows Phone Developer Preview Program first because Microsoft needs help from the community to improve speech and language recognition.
Image via Microsoft