Microsoft Releases New Cortana Experiences

Posted on May 27, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Mobile, Android, iOS, Windows 10 with 12 Comments

Concurrent to the release of Windows 10 version 2004, the new standalone Cortana app is also available, as are some related new Cortana experiences across Microsoft 365.

“With recent events leading to the world’s largest work-from-home shift, we could all use some assistance to stay caught up with work while juggling personal responsibilities,” Microsoft corporate vice president Andrew Shuman writes. “We’re featuring updates available starting today with Cortana, your personal productivity assistant in Microsoft 365, to make it easier to get time back on your busy schedule and focus on what matters.”

Here’s what’s new.

Cortana for Windows 10 is now available. The new standalone and chat-based Cortana app is now out of beta and ready to enhance your productivity. “You can ask Cortana using natural language to quickly check your schedule, connect with people, set reminders, or add tasks in Microsoft To Do,” Microsoft notes. “You can also find local information, get definitions, and keep track of the latest news, weather, and finance updates with Bing as a Cortana optional connected service.”

Updates to Play My Emails are now available in Outlook for iOS. Play My Emails now lets you ask Cortana to schedule a meeting in response to an email and add an email to your tasks list, at least in the iOS version of Outlook. “We have also introduced voice commands and touch targets for sending responses to meeting invitations as well as an option to quickly join an active online meeting or send an ‘I’m running late’ message to the participants,” Microsoft says. These new updates are now generally available for customers in the United States with Play My Emails in Outlook for iOS and, yes, the version for Outlook for Android is coming “in the coming weeks.”

Cortana Briefing email is now available for enterprise customers. The new Briefing email from Cortana is a personalized brief that will appear in your Outlook inbox at the start of your workday, providing “intelligent, actionable recommendations of documents for you to review ahead of the day’s meetings and drawing your attention to pending requests or commitments from prior emails that you may want to follow up on.” The Briefing email is rolling out in First Release for Microsoft 365 Enterprise users with Exchange Online mailboxes in English now.

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Comments (12)

12 responses to “Microsoft Releases New Cortana Experiences”

  1. overseer

    Did someone miss the memo about Cortana being dead?

  2. earlster

    Without proper support on Android and iPhone, this will not take. Why would I want to use Cortana at my desktop, but google assistant, or Siri on my phone? A unified solution is what we need.

    I used Cortana on my phone until they turned it off and am using google assistant now. It's yet another chance they missed in keeping me in the fold.

  3. Rob_Wade

    I don't care about enterprise customers. I care about CUSTOMERS. It is stupid and shortsighted to pretend that most people don't mix work and personal throughout any given day. To limit features only to those using enterprise aspects is idiotic.

    • miamimauler

      In reply to Rob_Wade:

      You just have to accept that MS make their money in enterprise and consumer products are for the most part a secondary concern.

    • ghostrider

      In reply to Rob_Wade:

      MS have already given up on the consumer. They don't want to lose their presence, but most of Microsoft's focus is now the Enterprise - because that's where the money is.

      • Paul Thurrott

        I think their focus is entirely on productivity, and that that focus spans businesses and individuals. Microsoft 365,, OneDrive, etc. are all excellent.
  4. ponsaelius

    I used Cortana on my WindowsPhone, until that was discontinued. I waited for a Cortana speaker for the home. That never happened in the UK. I used Cortana on my Android device then it was announced it was going away. So, I have Alexa for the home and the Google Assistant for the phone.

    A viable assistant should be where you need it. The Enterprise may get something out of Cortana. It feels a lot like Clippy 2.0 with AI.

  5. davidblouin

    and suddendly Cortana is not supported in my language (French - Canada) anymore...

  6. johnh3

    Microsoft was out early with Cortana, I think it could have been a consumer product similar to the Amazon stuff. Amazon got no mobile platform to. But somehow they could make a eco system with lot of gadgets.

    But I suppose this is kind of typical Microsoft often out early with innovations but then it stop..

  7. angusmatheson

    I think this is a foolish decision. I believe natural language computing will be the next Platform. Right now there are 3 contenders - google assistant, Siri, and Alexa. There is also Bixby and Cortana and some very small players. One assistant has not won, and it may be that several exist in the future. With Bing and Azure Microsoft has some natural advantages. All of these need to get much better before they will he widely used. The more it is used the better the natural language assistant will get. It may have been that Cortana wasn’t getting used enough to get better, but I cannot imagine Relegating Cortana to office will get it used more. I can see every company if the future wanting their own assistant - making Cortana available for those companies that can pay for it seems like a great idea - but this doesn’t move toward they future either. Natural language assistants are the future of computing. No one assistant has won this yet. Why is Microsoft abandoning Cortana now?

    • ghostrider

      In reply to Angusmatheson:

      Cortana never even got off the ground - it was designed from the outset for Windows 10 Mobile. When that was cancelled, Cortana was already a dead assistant walking. Nobody used it on the desktop - where it really didn't have much point anyway. Invoke smart speaker was on sale literally the day it launched - and it bombed. Windows tablets didn't really even make a dent, so that was another lost Cortana platform. When MS made it an optional app, well, that's just one more nail. As you can see, with no viable platforms and almost no use, Cortana was always standing at the edge of a cliff waiting to be pushed.