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Cortana's Windows Phone interface
Cortana’s Windows Phone interface

Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant, may soon extend her reach beyond Windows Phone to the PC. The assistant is appearing as an app inside the next version of Windows, code named “Threshold,” according to a report by Neowin.

The virtual assistant appears as an app users can launch, and runs in a small window where users can ask questions and get help with their daily computing tasks. According to the report, the user interface takes up about a quarter of a user’s display, with Cortana’s trademark circle shape floating in the center.

Like its functionality on Windows Phone, users can ask questions verbally, or by inputting text into the window.

The move would allow Threshold users to track their flights, search the web, check the weather and perform other actions without having to rely on individual apps or other functionality to do so. Right now, the Bing homepage includes personalized cards powered by the same technology that runs Cortana, but moving it to the desktop seems like a logical choice.

Including Cortana in its desktop OS could put Microsoft ahead of Apple, which thus far has chosen not to include Siri in Mac OS X. Of course, it’s entirely possible that Cortana could be cut from Threshold’s final release.

Microsoft first announced Cortana earlier this year at its Build developer conference in San Francisco. The feature has slowly made appearances on Windows Phones around the world with the roll-out of Windows Phone 8.1.

In addition to Windows Phone, a pair of Microsoft Program Managers working on Cortana told an audience at the SMX Advanced search marketing conference in June that the company is considering how to put the virtual assistant on Android and iOS devices as well.

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