Cortana leak

Microsoft’s long-awaited Windows Phone 8.1 update is expected to bring a ton of new features to the company’s mobile OS, but the most anticipated may be Cortana, a digital assistant designed to rival Apple’s Siri and Google Now. We’ve already seen a handful of photos detailing the Halo-inspired service, but a new report from The Verge offers up even more information.

Cortana will reportedly replace Windows Phone’s built-in Bing search and takes the form of an animated circle with a user interface similar to Siri on iOS. The new service speaks to the user—possibly in the same voice as the original Cortana—and features a built-in personality. However, it also has access to your personal information and email, meaning it will offer contextual notifications similar to Google Now. The service will reportedly be able to to store information in a Notebook app and access it later, and also draws data from Bing and Foursquare.

The Verge notes that Microsoft may not keep the Cortana name when it unveils the new feature later this year, though we’re not ruling it out either. The official Windows Phone 8.1 announcement is all but confirmed for the company’s annual BUILD developer conference in April. Stay tuned.

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