Microsoft to roll out Cortana to six more markets

Microsoft has announced that in coming months following its debut, Cortana will be made available to Windows Insider customers in Japan, Australia, Canada, India, Brazil, and Mexico.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

With just over a week to go before Cortana debuts on Windows 10 in seven countries -- the US, UK, China, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain -- Microsoft has announced it will also be launching its personal digital assistant to six other countries.

Microsoft said in the coming months, Cortana will be available to customers in the Windows Insider Program in Japan and Australia, and in English in Canada and India. Later this year, Cortana will also be available to Windows Insiders in Brazil and Mexico, and in French in Canada.

According to Microsoft, in designing Cortana for individual markets, the company has had to abandon the one size fits all approach, and have instead customised it to reflect the local language, idioms, and speech pattern of each country.

For example, for the Chinese market, Microsoft said the feedback requested a personal assistant whose voice sounded like she was smiling. It has also been designed to understand how important air quality is to local residents, and Cortana's job will be to track data on air quality and actively provide information to customers in China.

Meanwhile, Microsoft said in the UK, Cortana has been designed to understand how highly the English value self-deprecating humour, so dryness and ironic trails have been filtered subtly into her "personality".

"What's important about this work is that Cortana's main job is to help each individual to complete tasks. We do extensive research in each market on speech recognition training and understanding local language models so Cortana can understand speech input. We also ensure functionality fits the local market's needs," Microsoft said.

Just last week, Microsoft announced a limited number of users in the US and China are testing beta versions of the Cortana app for Android. This is in anticipation of the companion app being made available for iPhone and Android devices later this year.

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