Microsoft has confirmed virtual voice assistant Cortana is coming to Australia this winter.
Australia will join the United States, Britain, China, France, Italy, Germany and Spain among the first to try it with the release of Windows 10 next week.
Earlier this year, Microsoft unveiled Cortana — its answer to Iphone voice assistant Siri — named after the artificial intelligence character in Microsoft’s flagship game series, Halo.
Based on advanced speech recognition, Cortana is an an intelligent ‘agent’ who can anticipate its users’ needs rather than responding to requests like Siri.
But the tech giant says it’s not going to sound like your average voice assistant in the land down under.
“All countries come back with a lot of the same requests. They want their personal assistant to be intelligent, witty, confident, calm and helpful,” Microsoft’s principal program manager lead in charge of Cortana, Susan Hendrich, told the AFR.
“But Australians also want her to be laid back and easy going, and a sports lover. When you go and ask the same question to people in the UK, they say they want a more formal relationship with their personal assistant. They want their PA to be efficient, to do their job well, but they’re not really looking for a friendly relationship.”
Microsoft has confirmed that Australia’s version of Cortana will be female with a voice that sounds like she’s between 30- and 40-years-old — in contrast to those in China who are “looking for a personal assistant who feels like an older sister”.
In addition, Cortana will have the support of a an Australian writer “to give the voice some local lines” and will also be able to pick up on Australian products such as a “Golden Gaytime”.
Cortana is expected to arrive in India, Canada and Japan very soon, while those living in Brazil and Mexico can expect Cortana by the end of the year.
Cortana is only available to those who are participating in the Windows Insider Programme.