Windows 9 looks set to include Microsoft Cortana

Microsoft’s virtual assistant, Cortana, is rumoured to be a big feature of the upcoming release of Windows 9

Windows 9 is to ship with Microsoft's virtual assistant, Cortana,  indicating that the software has passed the testing stage and is ready to be rolled out to users.

Cortana has now "graduated" from "engineering builds to a more stable release cycle," and this will likely lead to it being a part of Windows 9 "Threshold" when it released widely in 2015, according to a report by Neowin.

Cortana will not be a full-screen app as it appears on Windows Phone though. Instead, it will feature as a small window on the desktop. Users will be able to ask questions verbally or by typing in their query. The app will otherwise look similar to the one Windows Phone users have grown accustomed to.

It is expected that Cortana will be integrated into the operating system, though this may still be in the early stages by the time Windows Threshold ships to users.

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Cortana is Microsoft's answer to Apple's own voice assistant, Siri, which the rival company revealed would be a big part of OS X Yosemite.

Endgadget also reports that Microsoft plans to update Cortana at least twice a month in the lead up to the release of Windows 9.

This is the latest morsel of news to come out regarding Windows 9. It was also reported that the upcoming release would ship without the Charms bar, which was a big feature of Windows 8.1's Metro view.

Threshold is also expected to arrive with the Metro view disabled by default, bringing back the desktop in a more prominent way, and it has been confirmed that the operating system will also see the long-awaited return of the start button.

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