Microsoft is bringing its Cortana digital assistant to a number of new countries today. Windows Phone Preview users in France, Italy, Germany, and Spain will all be able to access an alpha version of Cortana, alongside similar previews that are currently active in the UK and China. Microsoft is rolling out an update to the Windows Phone Developer Preview program later today to enable the additional languages for Cortana.
Today Microsoft has announced that users of the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview in France, Italy, Germany, and Spain will have official access to Cortana in their region. The service will be in Alpha there, which means most of the features in the beta version are available but some are missing or coming soon. For example, flight tracking is not available at this time for alpha. Transit data is currently limited to larger cities and will expand when more data is available. Additionally, reference data (e.g. “How tall is Mt. Everest”) is also not available – but may come soon. Microsoft is working on improving chitchat in those regions also, and the digital assistant already knows Football league data, including Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1, and La Liga. Over time, Microsoft is planning to make Cortana available as a beta in France, Italy, Germany, and Spain just like in the U.S., China, and U.K., and eventually around the world.