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Microsoft bringing Cortana to its Outlook app

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Microsoft may have abandoned Cortana as a standalone app and AI-voice-powered assistant, but the technology is going to be living on its popular office suite and now Microsoft is giving us a glimpse of what the future of Cortana is set to look like.

Rather than having an AI-assistant trying to capture every aspect of life and answer all manner of random questions, Microsoft is instead going to prioritise the efficiency and effectiveness of Cortana by focusing on office productivity and instead of giving it the ability to work around its diverse set of productivity tools and perform tasks like writing emails, scheduling meetings and search for files or co-workers. Seriously, who needs a secretary when you can have your phone do everything for you (not that I am busy enough to even warrant a secretary).

Microsoft has had a version of dictation in its desktop Outlook and Word apps for a long time now, but this will be the first time it is bringing any of these features to its mobile app, while also expanding its reach beyond just those two apps. All a person needs to do is select the new microphone icon that will be making its way to the apps and then chat away – though there will be some guidelines for what to ask the voice assistant to help make it work in a more optimum fashion and ensure it can get your task done as fast as possible.

I definitely think there is a lot of value here for Microsoft if they can get it right. While the likes of Alexa, Google and Siri have proven to be better voice-powered assistants, in optimising the technology around a specific set of tools and functions, it should improve its efficiency and accuracy and hopefully allow more people to make use of the technology without having to repeat things over and over again before just ending up doing the task themselves anyway.

Microsoft is planning to bring out the feature to Outlook for iOS this month, with Android support coming soon.

Last Updated: June 10, 2021

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