At its inaugural Lenovo World Conference this week in Beijing, Lenovo announced that it is partnering with Microsoft to expand Cortana in Windows 10 with its ReachIt technology. The combined search functionality will help Lenovo PC users with Windows 10 more easily find what they’re looking for. And it will integrate with OneDrive as well as third-party cloud storage solutions like Box and Dropbox.
“Lenovo and Microsoft have partnered exclusively to combine ReachIt and Cortana for Windows 10,” Lenovo senior product manager Greyson Davis said. “To help Cortana understand what you’re looking for on a much deeper level.”
So I know what you’re thinking. What the heck is ReachIt?
ReachIt is a Lenovo technology that is currently available on Windows PCs and devices and Android. The currently available app lets you search for files across local and cloud storage, and it supports Google Drive, Box, OneDrive and Dropbox.
In the future, Lenovo will be extending Cortana in Windows 10 with ReachIt capabilities, so it will be integrated directly into the OS … for those users that buy Lenovo Windows 10-based PCs and devices.
Looking at the demos, this integration seems useful. So you can say things like, “Hey, Cortana. Where are the photos I showed Tim last week?” And then ReachIt will break this question down into three parts—file type (photos), time frame (last week) and who you were with (Tim)—and then give Cortana the information she needs to answer the question. The integration of Cortana and ReachIt, Lenovo says, will help users find what they’re looking for, even if they don’t remember the file name or location of that file.
In another example, the user—a professional photographer—asks, “Hey, Cortana. Find the cover layout I worked on at Starbucks.” That cover layout is a photo file that is stored in a cloud service and opens in Photoshop. It will work across cloud storage solutions, local files, and files attached to emails in Gmail, Hotmail and Outlook, Lenovo says.
“ReachIt lets Cortana search across all these locations, and then Cortana brings back the best results, all in one place,” Davis said. “ReachIt makes Cortana even smarter and more personal on a Lenovo device. Cortana understands you, and ReachIt knows how you use your content, so you can search for things like you were talking to a friend or coworker, even if you don’t remember the file name or where you saved the file. You can find what you’re looking for much, much faster than ever before.
If you’re interested in testing this functionality, you can sign up for the beta at the Cortana + ReachIt web site. Note that you must have a Lenovo PC or device running Windows 10 to use the beta: The company says that “Cortana and REACHit will be available as a beta for a limited number of US and Chinese Lenovo users when Windows 10 is available later this Summer.”