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Microsoft's Cortana Assistant Gets New Features Including Outlook Integration

Microsoft's Cortana Assistant Gets New Features Including Outlook Integration
Microsoft at its Build 2016 conference in San Francisco announced several major announcements including Windows 10 Anniversary Update. The Redmond giant also revealed new features for its voice-based virtual assistant Cortana which will be available in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.

Microsoft says that Cortana will now "pro-actively make suggestions" for users through-out the day such as offering to buy lunch or arrange transportation. The company added that Cortana will be available above the lock screen, which will offer users quicker access to the personal assistant for tasks without unlocking the PC.

One of the most notable additions include Outlook integration which will mean that Cortana will able to check mails and calendar to offer suggestions based on the schedule. Microsoft showed off some of the examples how Cortana with Outlook integration will be useful for users such as for sending mails to colleagues without opening the Outlook app. Outlook calendar integration includes the ability reschedule events.

Integration with Android phones was also improved, with the ability to sync text messages with a Windows PC. This feature will extend to almost all notifications from the Android device being mirrored on the Windows 10 PC, via the Action Center.

"And only Cortana works across your devices - you can complete certain notification-based tasks on your Windows or Android phone, such as receiving and sending text messages, on your PC," said Microsoft's Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President, Windows and Devices Group, in a blog post.

Alongside announcing new APIs for third party app integrations, the company also announced a separate app section in the Windows Store for users to find best apps to work with its personal assistant. Microsoft calls it Cortana Collection in the Windows Store.

"Developers now have full access to Cortana's proactive intelligence through proactive actions, allowing your apps to perform tasks based on user context by linking existing actions in your deep-link enabled apps and websites," said Myerson, speaking about the potential of third-party integrations.

Microsoft's Cortana personal digital assistant launched couple of years back has over the years become "smart" with new feature additions and has also been unveiled for Android as well as iOS platforms. Last year, Microsoft had even claimed that Cortana for Android could replace Google Now as default assistant.


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