Cortana for Windows Phone 8.1 was made official with the developer preview version of the operating system back in April. However, availability of the personal digital assistant was limited to the US.

Now, more than half the folks that deployed this prerelease version of the mobile operating system were from international locations, and the fascinating thing is that they then turned this feature on by changing the location and language settings on their handsets to United States.

Needless to say, Microsoft has been stunned by this enthusiastic response.

Marcus Ash, the group program manager for Cortana, talked about the future plans for the digital assistant at a conference last week in Seattle, and said that Redmond is now thinking differently about the planned rollout of Cortana to new markets:

“So we get a lot of feedback on that and I think the early reception and just this kind of groundswell of, I want to use it even though it’s not my native language, actually caught us by surprise and is exciting and has really pushed us to think about how quickly we should be releasing these markets.”

Here is a video for your viewing pleasure:

Long story short, Microsoft is now thinking about focusing on expanding the availability of Cortana first, and then adding new functionality to it — the previous plan was quite the opposite.

Plus, the fact that AI digital assistants need a lot of data to work with, and if Cortana is made available to international users, the additional data might come rather useful in creation of new algorithms, and overall refinement of the service.

Fingers crossed, the company provides more information on this soon.

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  • Yorker

    Great news. This mean the public interest and early opinions on Cortana are high!

  • Ted Smith

    I love the video. Everything I’ve seen or heard about Cortana has been extremely promising. I can’t wait to see what Microsoft has in store for us moving forward.

  • Larryalobo

    Done right, especially to include international crowd, its a game changer especially if it has a wider use than what google has – never thought siri was all that great, though the commercials were good