Microsoft seems intent to make its digital assistant Cortana culturally fluent. In a post today, the software firm detailed when it will launch Cortana into new markets with Windows 10, and how it will slot the tool into various countries, each of which have their own hallmarks.
Cortana will first launch in Windows 10 in the US, the UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, France and China. Following, also this year, it will touch down in Australia, Japan, Canada, India, Mexico and Brazil.
That Microsoft wants to see Cortana expand into new markets is not surprising or even particularly newsworthy. The company, however, has seemingly deep plans to localize the tool that go past its prior work to help Cortana fit into the Chinese market.
Nearly a year ago, Microsoft launched Cortana on Windows Phone in new markets. Among those locales was China. The company implemented a number of features that focused on serving that country in particular. As it turns out, the company is willing to do similar work in a large number of markets.
Sometimes companies are accidentally humorous. Spot the giggles in this:
For example, Cortana understands how highly the UK values self-deprecating humor. Dryness and irony are traits that filter subtly into her personality, and she uses playful sarcasm in her responses if she senses you’re fooling around.
In Italy, Cortana is proud of national identity. Cortana will use words like “our” in responses to customers, and even sings the national anthem when asked to sing a song.
Cortana is also aware of important cultural touchstones in each market. In France, Cortana celebrates the Cannes Film Festival. In Canada, Cortana loves hockey, and in India, Cortana celebrates cricket star and national hero Sachin Tendulkar.
And in Japan, a high level of politeness is valued; Cortana will bow by default.
Then again, being earnest is no crime.
When Cortana was a Windows Phone feature, and not a core part of the future of Windows, it seemed almost off that the company was willing to invest so much into a market (China) where you could count its market share on one finger. Now, however, in the context of Cortana shipping in every PC and every Windows 10 upgrade, the choice to invest heavily into the platform makes more sense.
Regardless, Microsoft is doing the opposite of walking away from its bet on Cortana. Windows 10 drops in just over a week.