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How To Video: How to set up and start using Cortana
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How To Video: How to set up and start using Cortana

3:14 /

CNET's Dan Graziano shows you how to get started with Microsoft's new voice assistant.

[MUSIC] Android owners have Google now. iPhone and iPad users have Siri. And now Windows phone owners finally have a voice assistant of their own. I'm Dan Graziano and I'm going to show you how to set up and start using Microsoft's brand new Cortana voice assistant. Cortana comes as part of the Windows phone 8.1 update, which will begin rolling out to devices in late 2014. To access Cortana press the search button or click on the Cortana icon in the phone's app drawer. If you long press the search button, Cortana will lauch in listening mode. You can use the voices assistant to set up reminders, check the weather, or find the score and schedule of your favorite sports team. But, before we do that, let's get more personal and get Cortana to refer to you by name. Inside the app, click on the three-line icon in the top-right corner of the screen. This will open the notebook. Scroll down to settings. Check the box that reads have Cortana call me by my name, and click on the set my name option. Cortana learns from you over time and will eventually figure out where you live and where you work. But you can actually tell her these things sooner. Enter the notebook and click on interests to let Cortana know what kind of information you would like to receive. For example, I love the New York sports teams so I'm going to tell her to give me information on the Yankees and the Jets. In the notebook you can manually set time and location based reminders, enable the Windows phone quiet mode and set your favorite places such as your home or your work. You can also enable traffic updates in the daily routine section, get information for upcoming trips in the travel section. And, one of my favorites, get suggestions for finding places to eat at meal time, in the eat and drink section. The next time you open Cortana, you will be greeted with a stream of relevant information such as stocks and news, among other things. Over time, she will begin to ask you even more questions, like, what do you do during the evenings, what kind of food do you like, and what you're most interested in. Cortana will then use this information to enhance the suggestions she makes to you. So now that we have Cortana tailored to your specific needs, it's time to start using her. Just like Siri, you can use Cortana to search for pretty much anything. Whether it's on your phone on the web. You can have her open the Settings menu. Turn wi-fi on. Or, even text or call a friend. For example, after asking how tall Lebron James is. You can then ask what team does he play for. Cortana will remember that you're talking about Lebron James. Then will give you an answer. Rather than executing a web search for the command, what team does he play for. Another cool feature is Cortana's ability to listen to your music and tell you the artist he's playing. This can be done by clicking on the music icon and playing your favorite tune. Of course there's a lot more Cortana can do. So be sure to check out my article on howto.cnet.com. You can also reach out to me on Twitter with any questions or comments. I'm Dan Graziano for CNET. Thanks for watching. [MUSIC]

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