Cortana touches down in Continental Europe
It’s been over two months now since we last looked at Microsoft’s global strategy for its voice-powered personal assistant, Cortana. Back then, we were hearing teasers out of France that suggested the service could soon find itself coming to the nation, following availability in the UK. Well, we’re still not quite all the way to a full-blown release, but this week still brings us greatly expanded European Cortana access, as Microsoft brings an alpha version to users in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.
What does that “alpha” business mean? Well, for the moment Cortana will only be available in those nations as part of the Windows Phone Developer Preview Program. And while much of the base functionality should be present, responding to voice queries and pulling up relevant links, not all of the advanced features will be there just yet. Specifically, Microsoft points to things like missing flight tracking, the ability to cite certain facts, and only spotty access to transit info.
Those limitations in mind, Cortana’s only going to get better as time goes on, and the more community feedback Microsoft gets, as well as the more voice data it can compile as it picks up samples from additional speakers, the more useful it stands to become.
Following this alpha program, Microsoft already has its sights on a broader beta release, though there’s not yet any information about when that next phase might get underway.