April 28, 2014
Cortana App Restrictions: Microsoft's Virtual Assistant Won't Work If You're Under 13

The Cortana app restrictions have been revealed to not interact with anyone under the age of 13. While Microsoft's answer to Siri might work fine for anybody in a game of Halo (before she goes bad, anyway), it will simply refuse to work with anyone known to be too young.

It has been proven that Cortana will be just as universally useful as Apple's virtual assistant, providing you with answers, searching your phone and the internet for what you want to know. Using voice recognition and permissions across the device, Cortana will look everywhere it has access for weather predictions, your friends' birthdays, and possibly the latest Inquisitr news. However, that access will be cut off if your Microsoft account says you're under 13 years of age.

There is a very good reason for these Cortana app restrictions. It is illegal for information on young children to be acquired for anything involving an internet search, according to the COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act). Minors over 13 won't have a problem, though Microsoft might eventually add the requirement of parental consent. Cortana will normally search your email, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever it has access to for personal questions, while using your preferences to look across the internet. It might even look for stores near you to find what you're looking for, and to do that, it will need access to your location.

Microsoft is going out of its way to avoid snooping on young children, and this will probably be a relief for the parents of said children. If Cortana knows you're not old enough, it will simply and politely tell you you're not old enough to use it.

The Cortana app release date is unknown, but for now there is a beta available for developer product testing. The virtual assistant isn't finished yet, but you can be assured that with the Cortana app restrictions, it won't work for users under 13 years of age.