One of the most common applications that are added on your smart phone are those that help you in improving productivity. Cortana is a virtual assistant that does it and much more! Developed by Microsoft for Windows phone users, the application is still in its Beta form and is still undergoing optimization changes but does promise to pack a punch.
Microsoft has announced the availability of the application in UK, India, Australia and China, but at first it is only available to residents of USA. The name “Cortana” is derived from the artificial intelligence character in Halo video game series.
There is a huge amount of productivity benefits with Cortana. It hosts a wide range of functions that make life extremely easy. Right from taking text notes, setting reminders, silencing your phone, putting alarms and even making calls. There is practically an endless list of activities that you can do. Some of the key features of Cortana are listed below:
Personalized notebooks – This is where all the data about you is stored. Cortana keeps a personalized notebook that keeps vital information like your name, your home, office address, family and emergency contact information and practically anything you present access to. You can see the data that has been stored via settings or by clicking the bars that is present on the top right corner of Cortana.
Inner Circle – This is a definite benefit of using Cortana. It keeps track of all the people that are more important to you or people you contact often. This would be used to organize your contacts and also manage and prioritize your daily call handling. One of the key ways ‘inner circle’ is optimized is by tracking the time of calls and the person who is calling – quite interesting for sure.
Quiet hours – This is one of the best features of Cortana. It helps you keep your phone away and silent at times when you do not want to hear a whimper. The app will automatically silent your phone when you are sleeping or when you are in an important business meeting. How does it do that? Well, it detects when you are in a meeting (calendar access) and based on that it will silence the phone. Of course, these settings can be changed and you can edit it to respond to calls that you want to be disturbed from. So, calls from your boss, mom, wife and so on can still be set to ring. Plus, you can even set it to an mode such that the third call on rings.
Play music with ease – How easy is it for you to play music? Quite easy with Cortana! All you need to do is say or type in the name of the track or the artist and Cortana will do the rest for you. No shuffling or searching for music – Cortana is meant to do it for you.
Never forget with reminders – We all forget some of our daily tasks in a day and that’s one hold Cortana wants to plug out. You can set reminders between calls and text conversations. Plus you can also place reminders for text messages!
What are the places you like? – The app also takes special mention of the places you like and visit often. So navigation or reminding you to do a task when you reach a location are just a few features you can switch on with Cortana.
To kick-start using Cortana, one can refer the website link at: Windows Phone website
At this link, you will be able to get answers for all queries like “How can I start using Cortana?”, “What can I speak to Cortana?”, etc. With such an effective virtual personal assistant app like Cortana for Windows Phone 8.1, many freelance virtual assistants might be danger of getting lesser opportunities than before from small businesses. It remains to be seen if Microsoft’s Cortana can prove stiff competition for Apple’s Siri or Google’s Google Now or Samsung’s S Voice.