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Cortana: Windows Phone 8.1's Killer App?
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luffy1969
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luffy1969,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/21/2014 | 5:22:26 AM
Machine Learning, Bing and Cortana
I am using a Nokia WP8 phone and I am in the Philippines. Since we all know that bing powers WP, I was pleasantly surprised and was thrilled to find out that - as discussed and described in the article - Bing is really a machine learning platform. Iwould like to share a good example.

I have used several Android smartphones and have never been happy or satisfied with how their predictive text input works whether you are searching or send SMS/text message, email or creating a document. Most of the time, I immediately turn it off. Lately, I again tried using the predictive text input since my boss is using a Lenovo smartphone and I can tell there is a big difference in the words that the 2 platform suggests for input.

Whenever I send a text message, I usually do it in the local language (Filipino) and the first few times that i did this on my Lumia, I totally ignored the suggestions but then by my 5th text message, i began to notice that Bing is now suggesting Filipino words together with the tradional english words. Now, that is really smart - for Bing to be able to predict what Filipino word I want to put into my message is really something I boasted to my friends and officemate about it almost to the point of drooling saliva. I was ecstatic to say the least. I acknowledge that Bing really learns and in a big way. Right now, whenever i need to type, Bing can actually predict instantaneously whether i plan to use Filipino or English words for my text message or documents.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/5/2014 | 4:44:53 PM
Re: The UI issues
True, anon-- Siri is fun but doesn't always work well. When Apple introduced Siri, I think most people assumed the tech would be a little further along by now. That's why the Microsoft execs' veiled boasting interests me. They play up this sort of "deep learning" predictive tech a lot-- enough to make me think they're confident they can step beyond what Apple and Google have already accomplished. The notion that Microsoft feels confident doesn't necessarily mean anything, given their recent missteps-- but still, all of the hinting has become intriguing.

I didn't mention it in the article, but Microsoft reps talk a lot about natural language technologies too-- which might mean Cortana will address some of the weaknesses you see in Siri (though the Xbox One suggests Microsoft isn't quite there). It's certainly possible Microsoft reps are hyping a product that will simply copy what Apple has already done. But if they're actually prepared to offer a smarter assistant that understands your requests and lives up execs' previous hints-- different story.

 
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
3/5/2014 | 4:37:18 PM
Re: The UI issues
Siri will end up being more than a nice add-on. Voice interfaces are going to become much more common for the Internet of Things, if only to save the cost of building in touch displays. I don't expect Siri or Google Voice Search or Cortana to exhibit deep understanding any time in the next decade but I think voice interaction will become a popular way to communicate simple commands to computers.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/5/2014 | 4:36:50 PM
Re: The UI issues
I'm sure Microsoft hopes Cortana will encourage more people to consider Windows Phone-- but there might be more to it than that.

At least some online chatter states Cortana will eventually become cross-platform, extending not just to the rest of the Windows ecosystem, but also to iOS and Android. If Cortana is actually better than Siri, a cross-platform version is interesting; just as Google is ostensibly trying to use Chrome to put a Trojan Horse inside Windows 8, Microsoft could use Cortana to put a Trojan Horse in iPhones. If Cortana is tied to a Microsoft ID, that encourages use of other Microsoft services-- calendars, documents, OneDrive, Skype, etc. I think Microsoft can live with the reality that a lot of people are going to continue to buy iPhones-- as long as Microsoft services are running on most of those iPhones. I suspect Cortana will be WP-exclusive for a while, just as Office has remained exclusive to Windows tablets. But I also expect Nadella will be more aggressive than Ballmer about pursuing cross-platform opportunities.

 
anon8224748607
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anon8224748607,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/5/2014 | 4:32:23 PM
Re: The UI issues
Siri is at best a nice little add-on.  She works some of the time and can understand you...some of the time, so this is not going to be a killer app unless there is something truly unique in the software that allows "common sense computing".

Otherwise this will just be another reason for people to say someone copied Apple

http://techsplyce.wordpress.com/
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
3/5/2014 | 4:21:21 PM
The UI issues
I don't think of Siri first when I think of why people like the Apple user experience. Are you skeptical Cortana could overcome the reluctance of people to embrace the MS mobile UI, readers?
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
3/5/2014 | 4:16:40 PM
Agree: Microsoft Needs To Leap Competitors
Microsoft must leap competitors with Cortana.  The question is, can they do that?  IMO-- this is not generally written into Microsoft's DNA.  Usually they see a good thing, copy it and, arguably, improve it.  Sometimes they make it worse because they pin it to franchise technology.  For instance, Internet Explorer and Windows.  They are still paying for that nearly 20 year-old mistake.  Even today they STILL don't let folks run multiple versions of IE outside of a virtual guest approach.


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