Microsoft has disclosed further details on what people can expect from the Cortana personal assistant technology when it comes to PCs with Windows 10 later this year.
However, it remains to be seen whether businesses will be able to trust the technology with sensitive company information.
Microsoft announced that Cortana was coming to the PC desktop at the Windows 10 event in Redmond last month.
The intelligent personal assistant, first developed for Windows Phone, is currently available to test as part of the Windows 10 Technical Preview, but only for US users.
Microsoft has now detailed in a post on the Windows blog how it aims to offer a cross-device experience, so that people can ask Cortana to remind them about something using their phone, even if they have switched to their PC at the time the reminder is due.
Writing on the blog, Marcus Ash, group programme manager for Cortana and Search at Microsoft's Windows PC, Phone and Tablet Group, said Cortana learns what information and activities are important by observing how the system is used.
"By learning more about you over time, Cortana becomes increasingly useful every day. She will learn your preferences, provide quick access to information, and make recommendations personalised for you," he said.
But Microsoft explained that it expects Cortana to become more than just a personal assistant. The firm aims to develop what it calls the first contextual operating service that knows the user so well that it can predict their patterns to help get things done.
A key part of how Cortana operates is via what Microsoft calls the Notebook. This is modelled on the way real personal assistants operate, according to the firm, in order to keep track of what their client likes and doesn't like.
The Notebook allows PC users to see everything that Cortana knows about them, and remove anything they are not happy with. Microsoft also claims that Cortana never adds anything to the Notebook without the user's explicit consent.
However, while Cortana may prove helpful enough to attract individuals, it is clear that the technology entails a high level of oversight of what someone is doing on their computer, which is certain to cause concern among business customers.
At present, Microsoft has not detailed how Cortana will operate in a corporate environment, or whether administrators will be able to control its behaviour.
On the user interface side, Microsoft has settled on an animated circular shape to represent Cortana's personality and how it responds to input, rather than using a full blown human-like avatar.
Cortana is programmed to respond to different questions and present different answers based on a grid of emotions and states, Ash explained.
"If Cortana correctly answers your question and is happy, Cortana will let you know. If Cortana can't understand you, there will be slight embarrassment," he said.
While Microsoft has touted Cortana as a major addition to Windows 10, V3 was disappointed to discover the feature is not available to those outside the US on the latest Windows 10 release.
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