Microsoft continues to experiment with Cortana after adding list-keeping functionalities in November and announcing a hardware release for 2017. Now, it has unveiled a new use for Cortana; scheduling meetings. The new incubation project, internally called Calendar.help, is a collaborative effort between Microsoft Research, Outlook, Cortana, and Genee, an AI-based scheduling startup that it acquired back in August.
With Calendar.help, Cortana will arrange meetings directly within email conversations for the sake of convenience and saving time. In a blog post, the Office 365 team explains how "working out a time to meet can easily take more time than the duration of the meeting itself." Users simply need to copy Cortana on the email chain and it will look through everyone’s calendars to find times that work. Once it does, it will send out a calendar invitation to those involved for confirmation.
Calendar.help uses "natural language" in its replies, taking inputs such as meeting length, time, and location to emulate normal conversations. It can also automatically default to user-specified settings and send reminders to those who have not yet responded to requests.
Interested users can add their email address to a waiting list for an exclusive preview at Calendar.help. Microsoft encourages “customers who are interested in helping improve the service, especially those who frequently schedule meetings with people outside their organization,” to apply for the program.
Source: Office Blog