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Bloomberg: Microsoft using Foursquare data for 'Cortana' assistant

updated 12:04 pm EST, Fri February 7, 2014

Windows Phone virtual assistant could offer suggestions from Foursquare

Microsoft will use data from Foursquare in its rumored virtual assistant for Windows Phone 8.1, thanks to a $15 million investment in the company, according to a report. The location data gleaned from Foursquare will apparently be put to use in "Cortana," a virtual assistant named after the artificial intelligence character from the Halo series of games.

The additional data will allow the Siri and Google Now competitor to offer suggestions for restaurants and entertainment, claim sources of Bloomberg. The data itself is said to be information Foursquare doesn't typically make available publicly nor to other partners, and would allow Microsoft to provide tips and discounts based on a user's location.

Speaking about the funding deal, which took place as part of a funding round late last year, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley said "This is huge validation for the stuff we've been working so hard on. It's one of the leaders in the space we work in looking at us and saying we can really help power the next generation of devices."

An early screenshot of Cortana for Windows Phone
An early screenshot of Cortana for Windows Phone

Earlier rumors claim Cortana would be able to understand naturally-spoken voice commands, with the virtual assistant able to learn the user's preferences over time. Initial screenshots showed a basic set of menus, including options to enable weather alerts and to deactivate Cortana altogether.

Though The Verge notes Microsoft is holding a press event at Mobile World Congress later this month, it is thought that Microsoft will not detail Windows Phone 8.1 at that time.

by MacNN Staff



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