How to get the most out of Cortana, the Windows 10 virtual assistant

Cortana

Windows 10’s new assistant, Cortana has arrived and we are here to see exactly what she is capable of doing. To do this, we have split her functions in to four sections; reminders, navigation, device functions, and information. To check each of these we have asked Cortana a range of questions, from the sensible to the peculiar, just to find out what she will make of them – and my British accent.

Note: Cortana has been through multiple updates since she launched back in 2015. To find out more about what she can do now – and Microsoft’s Roadmap for Windows – check out this article.

First up we are going to look at reminders

This seemed to go quite well and, bar mishearing a few details, Cortana was able to set reminders based on time (set an alarm for 7am), location (remind me to buy milk when I get to the supermarket), and individual (remind me to tell Toni he has to finish these videos by the end of the day).

Next, let’s have a look at device functions

Testing on a Surface device (with a temperamental mic) things were a little more limited here. Cortana couldn’t make calls or send a message thanks to hardware limitations, but she was able to open recognized installed apps and find specific documents – even if my accent meant it was a bit of a struggle.

Getting about

As Cortana’s main functions is to help make your life easier, she is also on hand to help you plan travel. Need to find the best route home, avoid traffic, or find a good place to eat? Cortana will help – even if only by opening a relevant Bing search page.

Keeping up to date

What kind of personal assistant would Cortana be, digital or otherwise, if she didn’t keep you up on all the current information? Whether you need to know who won last night’s game, the latest news headlines, convert euros to yen, or just find out the meaning of a word, Cortana can help.

If all that functionality sounds stuffy…

Don’t worry if you are looking for something a little more fun from Cortana, because Microsoft have gone all out to give her a little more personality than other e-helpers. With a little attitude, and the odd preplanned response, finding out what annoys Cortana proves oddly satisfying.

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Follow me on Twitter: @DoFuss

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