Used to setting up reminders to remember meetings and events? No need to do so anymore. Microsoft’s virtual assistant, Cortana, may start taking care of them for you.
As the virtual assistant battle is heating up, Cortana just presented its newest function. An announcement on the matter came earlier this week. On February 09, Microsoft published an official blog post. And it in, it introduced Cortana’s new skill.
The virtual assistant will do more than just accomplish various tasks. It will also help its users accomplish theirs. How will it do so? By offering reminders. Microsoft presented this option as an improvement brought to Cortana.
It will be based on a similar already existing function. Microsoft’s Cortana can already set up reminders for times, places, and people. Now, it will also offer “unrequested” user reminders. More exactly, it will help the user remember appointments or the like. Even if they did not specifically request them.
This new functionality was first presented almost a year ago. Following the announcement, Microsoft began developing it with help from another division. This is the company’s Research division.
The reminders feature is based on machine learning. It will only function if the user allows it. Why? Because it functions as Cortana start scanning the user’s data. More exactly, the emails.
As such, the function should start working only after the user grants it access permission. Following the activation, Cortana will start scanning. It will keep an eye of the emails. And set up reminders for the various tasks its detects.
As such, it should start offering timely suggestions. For example, it could help remind its user of a meeting or an anniversary. And it will do so with time to spare.
Microsoft had already revealed some details about the system. As such, the company pointed out the following. Cortana’s scans will be performed locally. The details of the reminder will reportedly only be sent to the Microsoft servers. And only after a user agrees to set a reminder.
Cortana’s new ability will work thanks to its increased understanding of natural language. This is also based on the advances in the machine learning field. As such, the virtual assistant will understand that the user made a time commitment promise. It will not require a fixed numeric time format, as until now.
According to the blog post, Cortana will register and understand abbreviations. For example, “EOW”. And it will also pick up time phrases such as “at the end of the day”.
The newest Cortana feature will be simple to access. Users will just have to grant it permission. As such, the virtual assistant will be able to perform its scans. And users will just have to carry on writing emails.
If time promises are specified, Cortana will kick in. It will remind the user ahead of the task’s due date. So that they will have a better shot at accomplishing it. The assistant will save the reminder in the action center.
Suggested reminders will also be set up in the Cortana home menu. And also in the Microsoft notes. For the moment, the feature is only available in the United States. It can be used on Windows 10 devices. According to the latest statement, an Android and iOS support will be rolled out sometime in the following weeks.
Office 365 work and school addresses, as well as Outlook.com ones, are already recognized. Other email services will be supported in the future.
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