Windows Phone 8.1 OS Universal Search and Cortana details reportedly revealed

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Windows Phone 8.1 OS Universal Search and Cortana details reportedly revealed

New reports about Windows Phone 8.1's supposed features are doing the rounds, with one purportedly detailing the rumoured Universal Search feature, and another claiming to reveal more details about the anticipated Cortana voice-based digital-assistant.

A leaked image seems to show lines of code possibly representing Universal Search, with features such as message search, music search including artist name, song, album and playlist visible along with other things. The image was shared on a Facebook group called Windows Phone Lovers.

Full list of detailed features purportedly revealed via leaked Windows Phone 8.1 SDK files, expected to soon arrive in the next OS update, can be seen in our previous coverage.

Among the features expected to arrive with the Windows Phone 8.1 update, is Cortana, the much-hyped Windows voice-assistant feature. Despite its removal from the SDK files, the Microsoft sources supposedly revealed to The Verge the firm will be replacing its Bing search feature in upcoming Windows Phone OS with the much-anticipated voice-assistant feature.

Cortana is said to be programmed to get launched right from the dedicated search button which currently triggers Bing Search on Windows Phone handsets. The digital-assistant is said to act as a mix of both existing rival voice-assistants - Siri and Google Now.

Cortana is also said to animate while speaking with the user and to give happy or sad emotions based on the results. The voice-assistant for Windows Phone 8.1 OS will be powered by sources like Foursquare, Bing and others.

Another feature hinted at by sources is the Cortana Notebook, acting as Microsoft's privacy control for Cortana. Through the alleged Cortana Notebook feature, users can control the amount of information shared by the digital-assistant.

The rumoured feature will allow Cortana to access vital information like location data, contacts, reminders, personal information and behaviours. It has been also reported that Cortana will learn things about the users but will only store them in the Notebook with the user's permission. The information stored can be edited or deleted.

The voice-assistant feature will greet the users by their own names and would ask if they need some help or answers like Apple's Siri.

The Windows Phone 8.1 OS is said to be released in April as a preview and in July or August for global users.

Universal apps for Windows and Windows Phone were also hinted at last week, again via the purported files from the Windows Phone 8.1 SDK developer preview.


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