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Cortana capabilities revamped by Microsoft

Cortana can now do much more than provide information to users, as Microsoft expands her capabilities.

By April Slattery

Microsoft has announced adding new feature to Cortana, from email checking to reading aloud to enhance user experience.

The first new feature enables users to rid the use of ‘Hey’ at the start of every Cortana command, instead just simply saying ‘Cortana’ then proceeding to command the device.

Another capability to be featured on Cortana is the ability to check for new emails and even asking the voice assistant to read them aloud. Behaving in a similar way to Siri, Cortana can tell users if they have a new message and tell you who it is from, give a summary of the email by and offer a short reply if it processes the document correctly.

There has been no confirmation to when the features will be launched on Windows 10 devices, or iOS and Android. However the Cortana team has said it expects the features to debut on the Harmon Kardon Invoke speaker, powered by Cortana, as well as Windows 10 for PCs.

Cortana capabilities revamped by Microsoft

Cortana can read emails and event reply.

The use of the device to open emails has caused some concern among users, as hackers can tap into devices and command Cortana to carry out tasks that could lead them to encrypted files. Microsoft has ensured safety measure are put in place, with others suggesting to implement recognition of an owner’s voice.

Another area of speculation still yet to be confirmed is the partnership between Microsoft and Amazon, to join their two voice assistants’ capabilities together. Although the partnership, formed in August last year, was expected to deploy the capabilities by the end of 2017 there has still been nothing of the sort.  The Cortana team has said that the Cortana-Alexa partnership is currently still in internal self-hosting at Microsoft, as the companies work to make sure it’s a good experience.

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The roll out of the new features will be launched in the US first, but there has not been any mention of when Cortana’s new capabilities will be deployed to other platforms such as iOS and Android.

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