1. Ebuka Allison's Avatar
    Microsoft Cortana is a useful tool, unfortunately only the US can get her

    Anyone who has been following tech news or watching TV lately should have beard of Cortana Microsoft’s answer to Siri and Google Now. It was released on April 14, 2014 as part of a Windows Phone 8.1 and I was one of the first to download and try it out.
    cortana-home-callout_invariantculture_default.png
    I was initially excited when I used the first Cortana beta. It was fast, great and an incredibly useful tool. The dashboard was incredibly well done, searching for things was done with ease, apps integrated with Cortana well. In short, Cortana had made a good first impression and I could not wait to use the UK version so I could get rid of the weird Fahrenheit weather cards.
    Out came GDR1, the first Windows phone 8.1 update. Like any good tech nerd. I upgraded immediately and switched my region back to the UK only to discover the ugly truth.
    Microsoft had played a bait and switch here.
    What had initially been advertised as Cortana was not what was present in the UK version. Yes we had an app called Cortana, but gone was the human sounding voice, replaced by a robotic drone.
    cortana-icon-listening_invariantculture_default.png
    Apart from the voice, as I generally prefer typing (swiping) instructions at her, much of the functionality had been reduced. Now I realise that search was tied to Bing search and Bing Search being crap everywhere but the UK would rightly reduce the quality of results. That was expected. I did not expect Cortana to forget half of the information that should be on my dashboard (AKA interests). Don’t get me wrong she still understands them and registers their existence, but she doesn’t show any news articles on them as she should. More curiously, only about three or four are updated at any time. Fine I reasoned, perhaps Bing’s news service is bad here as well. Except the MSN news app powered by the same backend shows all my news perfectly.
    Forget the new features and impressions that reach the US first and only, the worst part of this was the apps which would interface with the old TellMe voice system or the US Cortana app had their integration stripped for whatever reason. Facebook and Skype being the most egregious cases.
    About Cortana, I am of two minds. On one hand she is very convenient sometimes. On the other hand, for a feature Microsoft advertises so prominently in the UK, it would do well for Microsoft to optimize for the rest of us in Not-America eh?
    pankaj981, TechFreak1 and piff2222 like this.
    10-10-2014 05:50 PM
  2. TechFreak1's Avatar
    Sadly it will take awhile for localised versions of Cortana to get on par with the US version as Microsoft is after all a US centric company. If they had started improving Bing outside of the US before 2014 then the changes would have probably come quicker.

    However who knows, I for one have stopped using Cortana as I just can't stand that posh accent. I just have a severe reaction lol as if I'm hearing chalk being screeched along a black board and for the life of me I can't figure out why... I tried setting the speech language to US English to see if that enabled Jen Taylor's voice. Unfortunately the search key defaults back to Bing and tapping on the tiles results in "sorry i can't speak your language yet", on the flip side enabling the US version of Cortana means the weather is shown in Fahrenheit... we can't win here can we?
    10-11-2014 12:37 AM
  3. TechFreak1's Avatar
    Sadly it will take awhile for localised versions of Cortana to get on par with the US version as Microsoft is after all a US centric company. If they had started improving Bing outside of the US before 2014 then the changes would have probably come quicker.

    However who knows, I for one have stopped using Cortana as I just can't stand that posh accent. I just have a severe reaction lol as if I'm hearing chalk being screeched along a black board and for the life of me I can't figure out why... I tried setting the speech language to US English to see if that enabled Jen Taylor's voice. Unfortunately the search key defaults back to Bing and tapping on the tiles results in "sorry i can't speak your language yet", on the flip side enabling the US version of Cortana means the weather is shown in Fahrenheit (even after setting the regional format to UK)... we can't win here can we lol?
    10-11-2014 12:42 AM
  4. Ebuka Allison's Avatar
    Sadly it will take awhile for localised versions of Cortana to get on par with the US version as Microsoft is after all a US centric company. If they had started improving Bing outside of the US before 2014 then the changes would have probably come quicker.

    However who knows, I for one have stopped using Cortana as I just can't stand that posh accent. I just have a severe reaction lol as if I'm hearing chalk being screeched along a black board and for the life of me I can't figure out why... I tried setting the speech language to US English to see if that enabled Jen Taylor's voice. Unfortunately the search key defaults back to Bing and tapping on the tiles results in "sorry i can't speak your language yet", on the flip side enabling the US version of Cortana means the weather is shown in Fahrenheit (even after setting the regional format to UK)... we can't win here can we lol?
    I understand localization and stuff, but it really works fine as it is. Why not release the US Beta before optimizing afterwards for regions?
    10-11-2014 04:26 AM
  5. Panathas's Avatar
    It's really sad what Microsoft is doing with cortana. Actually, I was in London this week and tried out the UK version. Oh man, so bad. She showed me only the foursquare results. Really??! GNow is so much ahead in ALL terms here. Google even adopted the quite hours feature before Microsoft can bring the feature to more then 4 countries, lol.
    10-15-2014 03:05 PM
  6. Ebuka Allison's Avatar
    It's really sad what Microsoft is doing with cortana. Actually, I was in London this week and tried out the UK version. Oh man, so bad. She showed me only the foursquare results. Really??! GNow is so much ahead in ALL terms here. Google even adopted the quite hours feature before Microsoft can bring the feature to more then 4 countries, lol.
    I think one of Microsoft's major issues is that of following up
    piff2222 likes this.
    10-16-2014 02:56 PM

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