You Will Soon Be Able to Have Cortana Read Your Email Out to You

Posted on December 20, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Microsoft, Outlook.com with 15 Comments

Microsoft is working on a new Cortana integration for Outlook on mobile devices. The personal assistant will soon be able to read your email out to you, reports Windows Central.

The company is currently testing the feature on an internal version of Outlook’s iOS app. The feature will essentially allow you to listen to Cortana read your inbox out to you while you are driving, for example. Outlook intelligently surfaces the feature on the app when it detects you are connected to an external speaker or bluetooth headphones, giving you an indication of how long Cortana will take to read your emails.

When you let Cortana start reading your email out loud, you will be able to skip through emails much like a music playback UI, and Cortana also lets you take actions with each email, like being able to flag it, delete it, or reply to the email. There doesn’t seem to be an option to speed up Cortana’s voice, though.

Of course, having your email read out loud sounds like a disastrous idea because of all the formatting and other, unnecessary details that are included in emails nowadays. However, it seems like Cortana will be able to essentially take out the important info out of your email, avoiding all the unnecessary details, which sounds pretty clever. For when there’s a lot of formatting or visuals, Cortana will simply recommend you to check out the actual email on your phone.

This feature, combined with the upcoming Microsoft To-Do integration on Cortana, will hopefully restore the faith of those who were left wondering whether Microsoft’s going to slowly kill Cortana. Either way, Microsoft will likely roll the feature to Outlook users in the coming weeks or months, so keep an eye out for it.

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Comments (15)

15 responses to “You Will Soon Be Able to Have Cortana Read Your Email Out to You”

  1. Daekar

    I will look forward to the new direction they're taking Cortana. These are the kind of integrations they should have been pushing since the beginning, I'm glad they're finally going there.

  2. arknu

    As long as Cortana only works in a handful of countries, it might as well not exist. Google Assistant has expanded massively in the last year, and Microsoft has not added a single new language/region to Cortana.

    In this case, as with many others, Microsoft needs to learn to move much faster. It is no use having a good product/idea (HoloLens) if you don't get it to market before the competitors.

  3. harmjr

    I just hope the reading voice is better then the one baked into OneNote's Leaning tools.

    I would use something like this if the reader voice is pleasing.

  4. SherlockHolmes

    And more personal data goes from your E-Mail account to Microsofts Cloud. No thanks.

    • wright_is

      In reply to SherlockHolmes:

      Yes, I'm in two minds. On the one hand, I don't like the idea of the data flowing back to Redmond, but on the other hand they keep bragging about new features in the Android and iOS apps, without even getting the old, stable version out to users outside the USA, even though Cortana for Windows is available in many of those regions.

      I was all for Cortana for Android when it was released in the USA, but it has dragged on so long and still conspicuous by its absence over here and people are starting to reject the personal assistants over here (and the current case of Amazon handing out private Alexa recordings to the wrong people hasn't helped matters, here in Germany).

      By the time they get it released internationally, it probably won't matter, because there has been such a backlash against data slurping and abuse of privacy by the established vendors.

  5. rawkfox

    For all the talk of Cortana "dying," Microsoft seems to be on the right track with the direction it's taking her. First To-Do integration and now this? Smart moves, IMO. The question that remains is if Cortana and Alexa can coexist on the same platform. Are two digital assistants one too many?

  6. wright_is

    Any news on when Cortana for Android is going to hit general availability? I've been waiting what seems like 2 years for the app to be made available. It seems like it is still being beta tested only in the USA.

    We've had Cortana for Windows and Windows Mobile for years, but the Android and iOS versions are still conspicuous by their absence outside the USA - apparently the Android and iOS version use the wrong sort of servers, because, although Microsoft can support Cortana on Windows, their last public statement was that they didn't have the backend infrastructure to cope with Cortana for Android or iOS in overseas markets... :-S

  7. Singingwolf

    this has worked on Invoke for ages

    • SvenJ

      In reply to Singingwolf:

      Really? I've never noticed, or tried. I get a weekly email from Amazon and Google telling me about new features and things to try with their respective assistants. Maybe MSs marketing doesn't know Cortana is still alive. Hope they read this site.

  8. dougkinzinger

    This sounds like a fantastic concept. I often have a lot of windshield time and would love Outlook iOS to automatically read emails to me while I drive.

  9. bassoprofundo

    I still miss the way Cortana would read my texts on Windows Mobile while I was driving and let me respond to them in a relatively friction-less manner. I've never understood why this hasn't been copied on Android or iOS.

  10. SvenJ

    How about we do this on PCs or invoke.

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