It has been less than a year since Microsoft showed off its virtual private assistant for Windows Phone. It’s called Cortana and the virtual assistant was limited to a handful of countries when it first came out. Microsoft reiterated its commitment multiple times to expand Cortana to additional countries and it has been working hard to meet that commitment. The company has announced that Cortana has now gone live in four new countries.
Windows Phone users in France, Italy, Germany and Spain will now have access to Cortana officially. Sure it has always been possible to get the virtual assistant running in an unsupported country using certain trickery, but nothing beats official support.
I should mention here though that at this point in time only an alpha version of Cortana is being released in France, Italy, Germany and Spain. Microsoft’s Marcus Ash explains that alpha means Cortana is “new to these countries,” but most of the features available in the beta will be accessible, those that are missing will be added soon.
Initially features like flight tracking and transit data won’t be available in these countries, and even reference data is being held back for all. European soccer data will be offered apart from local “chit chat’ jokes.