Microsoft broke the silence by confirming a string of news for Cortana that had hitherto been treated as a rumor.
Yes: Redmond’s giant productivity assistant will gain a male voice, and not only that, all available voices will have more natural speech thanks to a new text-to-speech engine supported by a neural network. The result will be less mechanical interactions with Cortana, which well will also be integrated with Outlook.
This is new in iOS 2019, but Android only in 2020: the assistant can read email summary and calendar when a headset is plugged in to ensure information privacy. Voice commands will allow messages to be archived or marked as important for later response.
Another news is that Cortana will deal with a complex task: transforming “let’s mark” into a reality. The user can ask her to find free time on the calendar for friends to set up a meeting. As soon as a user requests this from her and sets recipients, she will look in their guest calendar for free times and suggest them to respond with free dates in their hands.
The news is interesting but it comes a little late. Since the beginning of the year, however, Microsoft has no longer positioned its solution as a direct competitor to Alexa or Google Assistant, indicating that it threw in the towel while turning Cortana into what it calls a “productivity tool.”
Remember, despite market repositioning, Cortana will be available on Surface Earbuds, a gadget announced at a major hardware event in which the company has even unveiled a new smartphone for the market.
Cortana gets a new voice, Outlook integration and more news this year, reveals a leak
A new leak reveals that Microsoft’s personal assistant Cortana could receive a lot of news and improvements later this year. According to the nearly one-and-a-half-minute video published on Twitter by well-known leaker WalkingCat, Microsoft is preparing features to make Cortana even more useful and integrated with 365 platform apps.
Among the news seen in the video, we have a new action so that the assistant can read a preview of the new emails received by users. Inside the Outlook application, you can notice a blue bottom bar with a shortcut to Cortana. Just tap and ask to play the latest emails so that the user can perform all actions such as archiving or deleting conversations.
Still, in the Outlook application, the video highlights the second option for choosing assistant voices. In the settings, the new application will have a “Play My Emails” option and then you can select Cortana’s voice, changing from female to male if desired.
In Windows 10 the video also reveals that Microsoft is planning news that the user can “do more with less effort”: in the Cortana app you can see that a new email arrives and, by clicking on it, we see that the app is already separates attached files and allows the user to open them all at once.
Other options include “Briefing”, which will create a summary of the calendar and scheduled appointments in the email, as well as a new annotation tool to make calendar scheduling easier.
There is no forecast for when Microsoft should implement such news, but Cortana’s new features are expected to arrive in the coming months, as WalkingCat itself cites that these are features that close to Cortana in 2019.