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Microsoft Cortana is a virtual assistant designed to facilitate natural language interactions between users and devices. First introduced as part of the Windows Phone 8.1 update in April 2014, Cortana has since expanded across Windows 10, Xbox One and other Microsoft services.
Cortana is the name of a fictional AI character featured in the popular video game franchise Halo and voiced by actress Jen Taylor. Cortana provides players with navigation assistance through Halo's complex universe.
Microsoft's Cortana was initially created to compete with virtual assistants like Siri and Google Assistant, acting as personal assistant that could assist users with daily tasks such as setting reminders or making appointments.
Over time, Microsoft has continued to enhance Cortana's capabilities, including integrations with third-party services like Spotify, Uber and Skype. Cortana has also been optimized for use with Microsoft products like Office and Windows.
Over time, Microsoft has gradually moved away from Cortana as an independent product and more toward Cortana becoming part of Microsoft 365, including ending support for its mobile app and increasing integration between Cortana and Office 365. In 2020, they made announcements regarding both.
Cortana remains an integral component of Microsoft's ecosystem and is used by millions of people around the globe. As virtual assistants become an ever-more integral part of daily life, it will be interesting to watch as Microsoft further enhances and refines Cortana to meet the evolving needs of its users.
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