Microsoft’s Cortana will find its way to iOS, Android, report says

13 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Microsoft is bringing Cortana to Android and iOS: Report.

Cortana is bound for both Android and iOS via standalone apps planned for launch after Windows 10 brings the Microsoft virtual assistant to the desktop, according to Reuters.Later, Cortana will be available as a standalone app, usable on phones and tablets powered by Apple Inc.’s iOS and Google Inc.’s Android, people familiar with the project said.A Reuters report suggests that Microsoft could release its Cortana – a planned artificial intelligence personal assistance in the likes of the popular Siri – as a stand-alone application that could be available for use on competing Google and Apple operating systems. Photo: Bloomberg Microsoft has been running its “personal assistant” Cortana on its Windows phones for a year, and will put the new version on the desktop with the arrival of Windows 10 this autumn. “This kind of technology, which can read and understand email, will play a central role in the next roll out of Cortana, which we are working on now for the fall time frame,” said Eric Horvitz, managing director of Microsoft Research and a part of the Einstein project, in an interview at the company’s Redmond, Washington, headquarters.

The service, which is currently available on Windows Phone and Windows 10 desktop platform, will release to the other platforms later this year, the report adds. Currently available in a beta state for Windows Phone 8.1 users, Cortana is expected to have a full worldwide release together with Microsoft’s Windows 10 OS, for both smartphones and desktops. The report states that a stand-alone release is planned a couple of months later, which would see the personal assistant available for purchase on iOS and Android app stores.

Cortana is the name of an artificial intelligence character in the video game series “Halo.” They represent a new front in CEO Satya Nadella’s battle to sell Microsoft software on any device or platform, rather than trying to force customers to use Windows. The distribution of Microsoft Corp. apps beyond the company’s own platform will continue with the development of a new version of its Cortana digital assistant, which will be made available for the operating systems of rivals Apple Inc. and Google Inc., according to Reuters. Cortana is being developed using research from a program called Project Einstein, and some of its stated groundbreaking features revolve over the A.I. being able to plan the user’s activities according to information taken from e-mails. If Microsoft hopes to turn Cortana into something truly approaching genuine artificial intelligence, a key ingredient with be range and volume of inbound data points.

The concept of “artificial intelligence” is broad, and mobile phones and computers already show dexterity with spoken language and sifting through e-mails for data, for instance. Microsoft hopes that by bringing Cortana to other platforms, it will be able to make it the first intelligent “agent” which anticipates users needs. Using a plane flight example, Horvitz explained how Cortana can announce the user when to leave for the airport to arrive exactly on time by analyzing traffic conditions, his distance to the airport and delays of scheduled flights. To be effective, any digital assistant requires access to all kinds of information, including important data pulled from phones such as location history and web searches. Microsoft had already announced in November last year that it will not make Cortana restricted to its Windows operating system, but no reports at the time suggested that this would include its main competitors in the smartphone and tablet markets.

Since most mobile devices users are definitely not using Windows Phone—especially in the U.S.—it makes sense that Microsoft is looking to bring Cortana to where its users are. Microsoft already has made Office and other applications available for other platforms, a sharp break in its traditional strategy, which has been led by new-ish CEO Satya Nadella. Google’s mobile app, which doesn’t have a name like Siri or Cortana, already offers some limited predictive information ‘cards’ based on what it thinks the user wants to know. The new beta version of Office for Mac is impressive, and of course Office’s full mobile applications actually debuted on platforms other than Windows Phone first. The office assistant nicknamed “Clippy” suffered a similar fate a few years later. “We’re defining the competitive landscape… of who can provide the most supportive services that make life easier, keep track of things, that complement human memory in a way that helps us get things done,” said Horvitz.

This represented a smart move for Microsoft’s personal assistant application to gain instant popularity, with the video games series having sold over 60 million units in its more than 10 year history and the character being widely popular amongst its fans Outside his door stands “the assistant”, a monitor showing a woman’s face that can converse with visitors, has access to Horvitz’s calendar and can book meetings. If the Cortana improvements work out as Microsoft is hoping, however, the digital assistant could become better at predicting a user’s needs, similar to Google Now. On his desktop, Horvitz runs “Lifebrowser,” a program that stores everything from appointments to photos and uses machine learning to identify the important moments. Teams are the best way to get work done, and the smaller the group, the better, according to Jim Fowler, CIO of GE Capital, which is part of General Electric Co. ”The day of the individual, contributed piece of work is over,” Mr.

I want problem solvers who work really well in a team-oriented environment.” Most companies fail compliance tests for payment data security: Report. Google’s latest mobile app uses the predictive power generated from billions of searches to work out what a user is doing, what they are interested in, and sending relevant information, such as when a favourite sports team is playing next.

Four out of five companies fail interim compliance assessments for payment card data security, according to a report on Thursday from Verizon Communications Inc.. “We’re in such a constantly changing environment, actually keeping up with the way the architecture and services change, compliance is going to be a snapshot at a point in time,” Mark Hughes, president of U.K.-based BT Security, part of BT Global Services, tells CIO Journal. Apple is also pushing Siri, which uses Microsoft’s Bing search engine in the background, into new areas with its CarPlay and HomeKit platforms, as well as the recently unveiled Apple Watch. The formative years of Big Data will be about creating new businesses and business models that are data driven, CIO Journal Columnist Randy Bean writes.

The chipmaker credited the slowdown to economic and currency conditions in Europe and hesitancy on the part of small and medium-sized businesses in making new PC purchases. PC makers have boosted their prices in Europe sharply to respond to the rapid downward move of the euro relative to the dollar, but those pricing changes hurt PC demand, say the WSJ’s Don Clark and Chelsey Dulaney. The business phone call is back, and new Web-based services are vying with telecom carriers and equipment makers for a piece of the $1.6 trillion office-telephony market, seeking to reinvent voice communications, the WSJ’s Shira Ovide reports. New voice technologies let companies replace on-site hardware with Web-based services sold by subscription and kept up-to-date by the vendor, rather than their own technicians. Investments by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Rakuten and other large technology firms in Asia show a willingness to spend big in the U.S. for access to hottest technologies, the WSJ reports.

That said, some of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s potential GOP rivals for the presidency, operating under state law, wrestled with similar issues about using private email accounts. 23andMe to mine genetic database for drug discovery. The hope is that mutations and other genetic information harbored in the database, along with links to health information customers have provided to 23andMe, will reveal mechanisms and potential drug targets for a range of rare and common diseases. But there are limits to what it will do. “We are not a consumer technology company,” CEO Nick Hayek said. “We don’t want to produce a reduced, minimized mobile phone on your wrist.” Are Chinese tech startups overvalued?

A fear of missing out on China’s tech sector explosion is driving up private company valuations, an executive at a Hong Kong-based hedge fund tells the WSJ’s Rick Carew and Juro Osawa. “Many investors are hellbent on associating themselves with the higher profile companies, irrespective of the price they have to pay,” said Tony Hsu, chief investment officer at OTS Capital Management. The registrant country is listed as Egypt, presumably because “Islamic State” is not available on GoDaddy’s country dropdown menu, the Journal’s Ahmed Al Omran. Today software and analytics tools have made it possible for companies to mind map the CEO, so to speak, producing “leader brains” out of the CEO’s social detritus—speeches, memos, tweets and blog posts. To be highly regarded, CEOs must appear humble. “Highly regarded CEOs are nearly six times as likely as poorly regarded CEOs to be considered humble by their executives,” the report says.

The report offer no explanation on what defines humbleness in the C-suite, but it does includes a chart showing that media coverage of “CEO humility” jumped in 2014. CFO Patrick Pichette posted plans to follow his bliss by traveling the world. “It’s hard to get lost in the vivid imagery his flowery prose invokes,” writes Quartz’s Gwen Moran, given that his “huge, equity-laden compensation packages” come courtesy of employees who get work emails at “1am, 2am, 3am.” Even Google, home to the four-star cafeteria, has “never had a great reputation for work/life balance,” she writes. “Let’s lose the perception that the answer to finding meaning and joy in our lives lies in ditching our day jobs and strapping on backpacks,” she concludes.

Americans’ wealth rose to its highest level ever in the fourth quarter of last year—rising about 2% to $1.5 trillion—thanks to gains in the stock market and home prices that could prop up consumer spending and economic growth this year.

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