Microsoft has a new virtual assistant, and it’s a hybrid of Siri and Google Now, with some artificial affect thrown in for good measure. The Verge’s Tom Warren dishes on the upcoming feature of Windows 8.1, describing Cortana, the digital aide in question named after an AI character from the Halo series of games.
Cortana will be a circular icon in terms of how it’s visually represented in the OS, with animations that trigger when it’s speaking in response to queries, or “thinking” while processing them. It’ll display emotions through these animations, Warren reports, with bounces for happiness and frowning for displeasure depending on what it’s doing. Bing, Foursquare and other data sources will provide Cortana with its digital intelligence, according to the report, and make it so that it can offer some of the contextual smarts of Google Now, the Android-based anticipatory helper.