Microsoft's Cortana Now IDs Email Context, Enhances Reminders

Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana will now identify key phrases in emails to proactively remind Microsoft users about upcoming tasks and missed deliverables.

Microsoft announced several updates to its Cortana virtual assistant today, including an enhanced reminders feature that can read emails and calendars to help remind Microsoft users about promises and deadlines expressed in email.

“People often make promises to do things in email but may forget about them as the days go by and emails pile up,” writes Marcus Ash, group program manager at Cortana, in a blog post on the company’s Web site.

Ash says Cortana’s technology is a result of research conducted by Microsoft Research (MSR), and includes machine-learning algorithms that will review emails to suggest new reminders based on the email’s language and context.

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For example, Cortana could proactively remind users about any tasks discussed in an email containing the words “I’ll finish this by end of day” or “EOD.” Google introduced a similar email-reading feature to Google Inbox last year.  

Cortana’s features have already been introduced to the Windows Insider Program, and Microsoft eventually plans to roll out Cortana’s new features to all Windows 10 users in the United States and Canada. More than 200 million devices currently run Windows 10, according to Microsoft’s company Web site.

 

 

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