Microsoft is updating Cortana in Windows 10 so that it can suggest reminders based on your email and help you better manage your calendar by giving you insights into your schedule. The updates are arriving first for Insiders, of course.
In keeping with its productivity focus, Microsoft bills Cortana as a personal digital assistant that really helps people get things done. So these changes make plenty of sense within that mission, and Microsoft says it will continue to invest in areas that reflect the capabilities of a real-life assistant.
So there are two changes coming to Cortana.
The first is that Cortana will suggest reminders based on your email. This works similarly to how Cortana tracks flights and packages today, but in this case, Cortana is using Microsoft Research-based technology to automatically recognize when people make commitments to each another in email messages and then provide reminders so that they can complete the commitment.
“Here’s an example,” Microsoft’s Marcus Ash says in a video introduction to the new functionality. “My wife and I are exchanging emails to try and decide what we’re going to do for date night. I say, ‘I’ll buy the movie tickets.’ When I open up Cortana, [she’s] right there with a suggestion, saying, ‘you said you’d buy these movie tickets,’ and it gives me the option to set a reminder.”
Cortana is also being updated to help you manage your calendar. calendar. As you might imagine, Cortana knows a lot about your schedule, and she can use this information to provide insights that are unique to your habits and schedule. In that same video, Mr. Ash provides some examples—“This is a very early meeting, or a very late meeting … this meeting has conflicts. or this meeting happens during your normal commute time”—but the basic gist is that Cortana will become more proactive with regards to your schedule.
Microsoft says these updates represent “just the start” of Cortana’s calendar management capabilities. The firm will continue to refine Cortana’s intelligence and add new capabilities, over time, and of course features that debut first in Insider builds will eventually make their way to Windows 10 for the general public as well.
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