Microsoft's New Search Program, Cortana, Rolling Out This Year

The voice of Cortana will soon be used to direct your electronic devices...fitting, yes?

Siri won't be the only friendly female voice emanating from an electronic device.

There's been a rumor floating around that Microsoft will launch a Siri-like voice search program dubbed "Cortana." As Xbox fans know, Cortana is one of the major players in the iconic Halo franchise. Interestingly, it seems that Cortana is indeed the name of Microsoft's search system and in fact, it will be voiced by Jen Taylor. Yep, she's Cortana's voice actress.

The news comes via Microsoft insider MSFTNerd who claims the new search function will start as a beta test on Lumia devices this April. It will then become a Bing app for the iPhone in the US this fall and later, the "underlying technology" will come to the Xbox One and PC in 2015. Other English-speaking markets will follow through 2016.

ZDNet reported last September that Cortana has been in the works at Microsoft for years, and it will be a "revolutionary product" when it finally launches:

"Cortana will be more than just an app that lets users interact with their phones more naturally using voice commands. Cortana is core to the makeover of the entire 'shell'--the core services and experience--of the future versions of Windows Phone, Windows, and the Xbox One operating systems, from what I've heard from my contacts."

Cortana will allow users to ask questions and see results in real-time. It'll be a little weird "interacting" with Cortana but hey, if it works...

What other game actors would make for good search voices?

This news makes one wonder: who else would be a good fit for a search program voice? Me, I'm leaning toward GLaDOS from Portal. She'd be perfect. However, it would only work correctly if she was allowed to insult you whenever she didn't understand a question. She'd also be great for GPS directions, too. A string of deadpan insults would follow every wrong turn you made. Awesome.

Published Jan. 16th 2014
View Comments
  • Proto Foe
    Senior Intern
    I hope we can set her as an alarm clock! "John, John. Wake up"
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist

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