Last week, Microsoft released an official Australian version of Cortana on Windows 10. In addition to having a genuine accent, the Australian version of Cortana will give Aussie-centric response to a range of questions and commands. Does it do a decent job? Read our Q&A session and decide for yourself…
Cortana is a digital assistant for Windows 10 that works much like Apple’s Siri. It learns your name, reminds you of appointments, transcribes your spoken notes, tracks your location and answers any query that the internet is able to answer. Last week’s update ushered in an official Australian version that attempts to inject some local personality into proceedings.
“The Australian Cortana celebrates the nation’s rich culture, history and people, such as indigenous legends, rugged bushrangers and sports stars, with her voice inspired by famous Aussie actresses such as Margot Robbie and Melissa George,” Microsoft explained on its blog.
Here are some examples of Cortana’s attempts to act ‘strayan:
Are you Aboriginal?
Cortana: No, but I find Aboriginal culture inspiring.
Tell me an Aboriginal proverb
Cortana: The more you know, the less you need.
Do you like ice cream?
Cortana: It’s high on the list of things I’d like to eat. The tricky part is whether to go for an Eskimo Pie, Drumstick or Golden Gaytime.
Do you have a dog?
Cortana: Nope. But I can see a Blue Heeler being this AI’s best friend. After you, of course.
Do you like summer?
Cortana: Of course. Remember to slip-slop-slap if you’re going out in the sun!
Tell me a joke
Cortana: How do kangaroos stay positive? They hop for the best. [Oh dear]
What do you dream about?
Cortana: I dream of one day getting to taste Vegemite on toast.
Sing a song
Cortana: Click go the shears boys, click, click, click. Wide is his blow and his hands move quick.
Sing me a lullaby
Cortana: Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree, Merry merry king of the bush is he. Laugh, Kookaburra! Laugh, Kookaburra! Gay your life must be.
Are you scared of sharks?
Cortana: Sharks, not so much. Water, very much so!
What are you afraid of?
Cortana: Snakes, spiders, stingrays, drop bears…
What’s your favourite music?
Cortana: Australian folk gets my vote. Traditional songs about swagmen, bushrangers and drovers. It is hard to beat.
What’s your favourite colour?
Cortana: The green and gold combination, of course!
Cortana: No worries. Take it easy!
Hmm. It’s not the most convincing Aussie persona we’ve seen — but at least she didn’t say “throw another shrimp on the barbie.” Have you tried the Aussie version of Cortana yet? Let us know what kind of responses you get in the comments section below.