Cortana for Windows 10 launching in 7 new countries including India, gets a crash course in Indian humor
Microsoft already boasts that its Cortana has a personality, unlike other virtual assistants, and is now trying to make it fluent in global cultures. In a blog post, the company detailed how Cortana for Windows 10 will be rolled out in various countries, including India, and how it will be tuned to each of their cultures.
Next week, along with the launch of Windows 10, Cortana will arrive in countries like the US, UK, Spain, Germany, Italy, France and China. Following, in the coming months, the virtual assistant will also be introduced in countries like Japan, Australia, Canada, India, Brazil, and Mexico via the Insider Program.
Just launching it in different countries is not enough, and Microsoft wants Cortana to be tuned into each country’s culture. It specially wants the virtual assistant to get the humor factor spot on. Marcus Ash, Group Product Manager for Cortana at Microsoft, writes,
Cortana is customized to reflect the local language, idioms and speech patterns of each country. For example, Cortana understands how highly the UK values self-deprecating humor. Dryness and irony are traits that filter subtly into her personality, and she uses playful sarcasm in her responses if she senses you’re fooling around.
In Italy, Cortana is proud of national identity. Cortana will use words like “our” in responses to customers, and even sings the national anthem when asked to sing a song.
Cortana is also aware of important cultural touchstones in each market. In France, Cortana celebrates the Cannes Film Festival. In Canada, Cortana loves hockey, and in India, Cortana celebrates cricket star and national hero Sachin Tendulkar.
And in Japan, a high level of politeness is valued; Cortana will bow by default.
It’s interesting that Microsoft mentions Sachin Tendulkar as a reference point to the Indian culture. To prove its point about humor, Microsoft dropped in a screenshot of a so-called Indian joke. It reads, “What did the half eaten naan say? I wish I was puri.”