Microsoft originally launched Cortana as its digital 'personal assistant' in Windows Phone 8.1, but it has since made its way to other platforms, as well as becoming an integral component of Windows 10. Today, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 users will soon see new features in Cortana, which are rolling out first to those on the Windows Insider Program.
In the United States, Cortana will be able to scan your emails in order to offer reminders regarding when you need to get stuff done. For example, if you've emailed your boss promising that you'll complete a report by midday tomorrow, Cortana will have the ability to offer a prompt reminding you that the job needs to be done as you get closer to the deadline.
Microsoft's Marcus Ash, Group Program Manager for Cortana said:
People often make promises to do things in email but may forget about them as the days go by and emails pile up. Microsoft Research (MSR) was pursuing an intriguing and powerful idea around this challenge—automatically recognizing when people make commitments to one another in email messages and providing reminders. We collaborated very closely with MSR to bring this new ability to Cortana to help people better keep track of their commitments.
In the US and the United Kingdom, a second feature will help with managing your daily schedule, as Ash explained:
Cortana, like a true personal assistant, is intelligent enough to understand how you may uniquely like to work – including the hours you like to set meetings and those in which you are most productive. So if you are a morning person like me, and you get a meeting request come through for 7pm, Cortana will alert you that you have a meeting outside of your regular times so that you can take action quickly to move it to a better time. The same for last minute meetings – say it’s 8pm and your boss has sent you an urgent meeting request for 7am the next day – Cortana will alert you that there’s a meeting that may need your attention, so you can adjust your alarm and morning routine accordingly and stay on top of your day**.
Ash said that this is "just the start of Cortana's calendar management capabilities", and that more features are on the way to help users become more productive.
The assistant will reportedly be integrated even more deeply into Windows 10 later this year, including numerous features designed for business users, as part of the company's Redstone updates to the OS.