Microsoft's Cortana hits France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, complete with 'local chit chat'

The Windows Phone personal assistant is now available in four new countries, with European jokes and football data onboard.

Cortana's arrived in pastures new. Image: Microsoft

Microsoft's Cortana has been learning some new languages.

The Windows Phone personal assistant has been released as an alpha in four new European countries - France, Germany, Italy, and Spain - Microsoft announced on Friday. Cortana is now available in all of the continent's largest markets; it was released in the UK earlier this year .

Cortana will be made available in those countries as part of the Windows Phone Developer Preview Program, to help improve Cortana's abilities in each of the new languages before a wider launch.

Read this

Voice control showdown: Siri vs Google Now, S Voice, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 8

Smartphone makers are looking to voice control and personal assistants to make their hardware stand-out. But are all voice control systems created equally?

Read More

Due to its alpha status in the four markets, Cortana won't have the same feature set as its beta cousin - flight tracking won't be available in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, for example.

However, Microsoft says it has tailored the product to fit its new locales - including adding "local chit chat and jokes" and information from football leagues in the countries including Germany's Bundesliga and Spain's La Liga.

"We have also worked hard to tailor Cortana's personality in each... to make her more locally and culturally relevant (ie make sure she fits in!)," Microsoft said.

For now, Cortana is only available on Windows Phone 8.1, although there have been rumours that Microsoft may look to expand the person digital assistant to other OSes in the future. Across Europe, Windows Phone is the third-placed smartphone OS, with 8.7 percent of the market overall, according to analysts Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. In both France and Italy, its market share is in the double digits.

Cortana was released at the start of the year in the US , with launches in Australia, China, and India following not long after.

Read more on Cortana