Cortana’s greetings may get a lot more personal soon (patent)


Microsoft touts Cortana as a digital assistant, but in a newly published patent application they note that when a real assistant greeted you they would likely not use the same wording twice.

Microsoft writes:

A goal of the personalized greeting system described herein is to mimic a human experience with the user. Providing the same greeting to the user twice in one day is not typical of how the user would be greeted by a human. 

Microsoft’s solution, for which they applied a patent, is to have a list of greetings which are customized with information Cortana knows about you, e.g. birthdays or sport teams, and to run through this list over the course of a day.

They note:

As such, embodiments provide for mechanisms to alternate or rotate through a list of personalized greetings so that the experience is heightened for the user. For example, If the user accesses his/her laptop in the morning, and his/her mobile device in the afternoon on the day of the user’ s birthday, the system would know to now greet the user with “Happy Birthday!” both times, but rather to greet the user the first time with “Happy Birthday!” and greet the user the second time with

“Hope you are having a wonderful day!” Additionally, the personalized greetings system and/or the client device include a ranking system that can use user information to rank the personalized greetings based on prioritization of the user’s interest. For instance, it may be determined that the user has a greater interest in sports over weather (e.g., based on user searching, e-mails, calendar entries). With this, a personalized greeting that is directed to sports may be ranked higher than one directed to the weather. The information used for ranking could be static or dynamic. Even further, two or more personalized greetings could be combined and presented to the user as a single greetings, such as, for example, “Welcome Home! The temperature is expected to be above 85 today!”

The patent application, which dates from the 28th April 2016, suggests a number of further elaborations, such as keeping a central list of greetings so different devices would not repeat themselves, caching info locally and a few more, but I think the central idea is that Cortana may get a lot more chatty soon.

Read the patent here.

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