Cortana has already proven itself to be a powerful digital assistant; one the is worthy being compared favorably to similar offerings from Google (Google Now) and Apple (Siri). Microsoft, however, has the advantage of offering Cortana not only on its Windows Phones, but also Windows 10 in addition to Android and iOS.
Today, Microsoft has given the Windows 10 version of Cortana a big boost thanks to a new feature called Commitments. Now before privacy advocates start throwing up their hands in disgust, we want to ahead and put out there that Commitments is totally opt-in, so you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to. With that out out of the way, Commitments allows Cortana to perform a local search of your emails to see if you’ve made promises or “commitments” that have a deadline attached to them.
Cortana looks at how your emails are worded to help it determine if it needs to set a future reminder so that you remember to pickup your mother-in-law from the airport (a task that you begrudgingly promised your wife) or get started on that project that you told your boss would be ready by end-of-business on Friday.
The Cortana team got help from Microsoft Research (MSR) to make this all possible to help you “get more proactive about managing your schedule.”
Microsoft is also adjusting the way Cortana handles your Calendar within Windows 10. A new feature scans to see if you have set a meeting that is outside your daily norm. Cortana will make note of this and prompt you to adjust your normally scheduled alarms to account for the atypical meeting request.
“Say it’s 8pm and your boss has sent you an urgent meeting request for 7am the next day,” say Cortana Program Manager Marcus Ash. “Cortana will alert you that there’s a meeting that may need your attention, so you can adjust your alarm and morning routine accordingly and stay on top of your day.”
These new features are being rolled out as we speak via the Windows Insider Program. Regular Windows 10 users an expert to see the Cortana updates once they are fully vetted by Microsoft’s internal software team and Windows Insiders.