Apple popularized the concept of baking in virtual assistants deep inside mobile devices. Siri is now nothing short of a global phenomenon, and while the company’s competitors may not have entirely gone down the same route, they too have launched somewhat similar services that aid users in their daily tasks. Microsoft has apparently been working on a Siri rival of its on, the Cortana assistant that will reportedly debut with Windows Phone 8.1. New details have emerged about Cortana which make it seem like the assistant will be a mix of Siri and Google Now.

It is said that Cortana will replace the built-in Bing search found on WP devices, right now this feature is brought up through a hardware key, and it will function as a mix of Siri and Google Now. People “familiar with Microsoft’s Windows Phone work,” tell The Verge that Cortana will be fashioned into a circular animated icon that will have the hue of the selected Windows Phone accent color. Its personality will reportedly be “not dissimilar from Apple’s Siri.” Depending on queries, the assistant will frown with “emotion,” and it may bounce around when its thinking or speaking. Users will apparently be able to ask it questions, much like Siri, and it may even be capable of greeting them by name.

Cortana will be similar to Google Now in the sense that it will pull in data from a variety of services, including Bing and Foursquare, to give it Now’s contextual power. Microsoft will also give users greater control on the information that’s shared with Cortana, this will be based on a feature called Notebook. Cortana won’t store things in the Notebook without first asking users, and any information that’s stored can be edited as well as deleted whenever the user wants. Information stored in the Notebook will be used to provide suggestions, alerts, reminders and more.

While Microsoft itself hasn’t said anything about Windows Phone 8.1, there have already been a lot of rumors about what its going to bring. Moreover, recently a Windows Phone 8.1 SDK leak gave us a glimpse of all the new features that are included in the next major platform update. So far its not known exactly when this update drops, but Microsoft is expected to talk more about it at its BUILD conference in April.

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