Report: Microsoft is creating a cross-Windows virtual assistant called Cortana

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Gigaom

Fans of the Xbox first-person shooter series Halo will immediately recognize the name Cortana. She’s the anthropomorphized AI that assists the player throughout the game. But Microsoft, which owns the Halo franchise, has plans for Cortana beyond the games. According a ZDNet report, Cortana will become a ‘real-life’ speech-enabled virtual assistant that crosses the Windows platforms.

ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley reported that Cortana will be a virtual assistant in the vein of Apple’s(s aapl) Siri and Google(s goog) Now, except it won’t be limited to smartphones. According to the report, Cortana will be core to Microsoft’s plans to makeover the “shell” encompassing all of the Windows operating systems, from the PC to the smartphone to Xbox One.

In a memo in July, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hinted at such a cross-platform UI, describing a forthcoming interface that would be “deeply personalized, based on the advanced, almost magical, intelligence…

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Mobile News App Circa Launches Its Web Platform For Browsing And Following Stories

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TechCrunch

Circa, a startup that offers quick and mobile news consumption, is expanding its services to the web by launching its online platform for following and sharing news. While the website doesn’t have the full functionality of the iOS app, the company aims to complete it later this year.

The mission of Circa News, the startup’s iOS app, is to give readers the main points of each relevant news story. Circa’s team of 10 writes stories optimized for mobile with several key points. This speeds up news consumption and potential bias that may come from long-form and opinion pieces. Users can browse specific categories and follow stories they are interested in.

“We’re doing a lot of things to bring the web more in line with our mobile,” co-founder and CEO Matt Galligan tells me. “It’s about closing that loop.”

The Circa website will allow users to access the news…

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