Cortana is getting a serious upgrade for the rollout of Windows 10. Standalone apps for iOS and Android are also hinted at in a Reuters report. Before you rush to the App Store, the timeline on this is vague. Translation? Non-Windows Phone users are going to need a strong dose of patience.

Eric Horvitz, managing director of Microsoft Research, spoke to Reuters about an artificial intelligence project, codenamed Einstein, and its role in the next rollout of Cortana. The project is set to play a central role in the new features Microsoft is set to debut with Windows 10.

We have already seen the capability of Cortana in a video posted last week. It shows Cortana implemented in the Spartan browser. This feature is set to release with the next preview version of Windows 10.

All three major tech companies – Apple, Microsoft and Google – are working 24/7 to increase the capability of their digital assistants.

Apple’s Siri

The old hat of the bunch. It’s been around the longest, and answers your questions via search results from Bing. Sometimes the results can be hilarious. Siri can also take notes, and send emails and texts. As for Siri being cross platform? Don’t count on it. Apple hasn’t announced plans, and the company likes a closed ecosystem.

siri apple ios

Google Now

For Android users, Google Now is the personal assistant without a name. Ask a question into you phone, and it googles that for you. It even attempts to offer advice via Google Now cards. Facebook should implement that one to save the jobs of countless people.

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google now

Google Now is available on iOS, in both the Google Search app and the Chrome browser.

Microsoft and Cortana

The company’s plan is to make the digital assistant completely platform-agnostic. It wants to accomplish what Google Now does without the reliance on Google services.

You can see Satya Nadella’s vision for Microsoft services as standalone apps with recent releases. Both Outlook and Office have become top-tier apps across various platforms. Outlook has become my go-to gmail app. I love it.

The question remains, can Microsoft unseat entrenched digital assistants on iOS and Android? It will take Cortana being beyond feature-rich. And, one hell of a marketing campaign.

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