Just yesterday I freaked out my dog by talking not to him, but to my phone. I said, “Hey, Cortana.” He was puzzled because that wasn’t his name. The response made his head tilt since he could not figure out who answered me back. The bodyless voice was coming from my phone and I was able to ask Cortana to remind me to buy some dog treats next time I am near a pet store. This interaction is becoming common place with Siri and Google Now laying the groundwork.
Siri and Cortana tell jokes and if you ask Cortana about Siri or Steve Jobs, she will say very nice things about them. Google Now is extremely functional and they all are getting a following that is changing just how the world interacts with things.
Here is a great example. A search was requested of all three to find details of a flight. This is what resulted:
As you can see, all three pulled up the same information, with some a tad more detailed than the other. I took it a step further recently when my son was leaving to spend the summer in Colorado. I was emailed the flight confirmation and before I even opened the email, Cortana popped up a message that asked me if I wanted to add the flight time to my calendar and if I wanted her to track the flight for me. At first I was a bit horrified that a program was reading my email and figuring out that the flight would matter to me. After a bit of deep breathing, I realized that it was a pretty cool feature after all, and privacy between me and my devices is probably impossible anyway.
OK, so we all know that personal assistants are big on phones, but who is going to bring them to the desktop in a big way? Surprisingly, Microsoft is using Cortana to try to get buzz and reputation back after the perceived disaster that was Windows 8. You will be able to speak to your computer just like you do with your phone and ask Cortana to send emails, do searches and yes, tell jokes. In fact, to help get people on board with Windows 10, they are even releasing a slightly less powerful version of Cortana for Android and iPhones. Why the generosity? Well, Cortana uses Bing to search what you ask for, giving Microsoft add revenue. There are a ton of other reasons, but do we really care if we get to truly have it all with us at all times?
I am very sure that this ability will come to Apple and Google as well, ensuring that we are no longer crazy if our inanimate objects talk back to us.
To sum it up, let’s let the 3 answer an age old question…”What Does the Fox Say?”