Cortana wants you to keep your promises.
Microsoft’s virtual assistant, available on platforms including Windows 10, iOS and Android, has some new capabilities to help users stay on top of commitments they’ve made in emails.
Using machine learning technology developed with help from Microsoft Research, Cortana will now recognize phrases in emails like “I’ll get you that report by Friday” or “I’ll call you back by the end of the day.” When flagged by those kinds of phrases, Cortana saves the details and offers a reminder when the deadline is approaching.
“To get started, simply send emails as you would normally and when you’ll do something, Cortana will recognize that and save the details in a suggested reminder for you,” explains Marcus Ash, Cortana program management director, in a post announcing the new feature. “If you’ve specified a deadline in the email, Cortana will ping you before it’s due and save it in the action center. Other suggested reminders will be in the Cortana home. No need to copy her on the email or change how you do things today, she will adapt to you.”
The suggested reminders will begin rolling out today in the U.S. for Windows 10 and will arrive on iOS and Android in the coming weeks, Microsoft says. It works with Outlook.com and Office 365 work and school email accounts, and Microsoft says support for other email services is is coming soon.
Microsoft has been steadily adding smarts to Cortana for the past year, as part of a broader trend to bring research lab projects to market faster. It’s a key part of CEO Satya Nadella’s vision to usher in a new age for the company.
Cortana’s increasing intelligence also comes as other tech giants — including Amazon, Apple, and Google — are building out the capabilities of their own virtual assistants as a way for users to interact with artificial intelligence technology.