Cortana, the virtual Microsoft assistant baked into Windows Phone 8.1, today continues its expansion across Europe by making its debut in four new markets. France, Italy, Germany, and Spain will all be able to enjoy an alpha version of Cortana, which will have most features enabled.
“Alpha means that Cortana is new to these countries,” explains Microsoft’s Marcus Ash on the Windows blog. “Most of the features in the beta version are available but some are missing or coming soon.”
Flight data is not available in these markets yet, while transit information will only cover larger cities. In addition, reference data — which is used for questions like “how tall is Mt. Everest?” — has also been left out. Microsoft does promise, however, that these things will be added as its data grows.
To make up for the things that are missing, Microsoft has been working hard to tailor Cortana’s personality to each language to “make her more culturally relevant.” You’ll be able to chat to her in your native tongue using local phrases, and she’ll even tell you jokes in your own language.
Cortana will also show European football (soccer) data for the German Bundesliga, Italy’s Serie A, France’s Ligue 1, and the Spanish La Liga.
“Cortana will be available through the Windows Phone Developer Preview Program first because we need help from the community to use and speak to Cortana in order to improve the speech and language recognition models for each of the new languages,” Ash explains.
To get your hands on it, you’ll need to sign up and download the Cortana preview when it rolls out later today.