Cortana

Because there are things that Cortana can do better than Siri or you

Microsoft’s Cortana may not be as popular as Apple’s Siri, but she does have a lot of tricks up her sleeves that she can no doubt do better than Siri, and maybe even do a lot better than you.

First launched on the company’s Windows phones, Cortana has since been enhanced and given a version developed especially for Windows 10 — the very platform that’s rumored to be Microsoft’s ultimate operating system invention. Or at least for the time being.

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Nevertheless, the platform’s digital assistant thus gives justice to the term ultimate, and we have a feeling that it’s only going to get better than this.

To prove just that, here are things that Cortana can do, which she probably can do a lot better than you.

But first, an introduction.

Finding Cortana

Finding Microsoft’s outstanding digital assistant may not be as easy as it ought to be, but the truth is, she’s actually just a click away.

To get to her, you can just click on the search box located right beside the Windows Start button which should lead you directly to her.

But just in case it doesn’t, you can try to click on the icon that looks like a circle, which is located right beside the left hand corner of the menu. Then, click on the part that says ‘Next’, and then click on the part says ‘Use Cortana’. This should fix the problem, and you should now be able to access the much-talked about digital assistant by simply clicking on the same search box that you’ve clicked on earlier.

Where you are

Once you’ve got all of the above fully figured out, the first thing that your new digital assistant will do is to track where on Earth you currently are, display that location on a map along with other information you might find helpful — like the weather and some traffic reports.

But she doesn’t just stop there. She will also start syncing your calendars before she will start bugging you with reminders about your forthcoming engagements.

Notebook

Like any good secretary, this digital lady has a ‘Notebook’ handy which she uses to write down things that she feels are useful in order to get to know more about you.

The best part is, you get to tell her which are the things that you actually want her to know about.

To do this, simply click on the third icon from the top located on the left part of the menu, and then choose the part that says ‘About Me’.

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From here, you can tell your new assistant the things that you want her to know about you, including your name and how you’d like her to call you.

Keeping track

A good secretary isn’t a good secretary unless she keeps track of the things that matter to you. Keeping track of the places that you frequent is another thing that your digital assistant likes doing, and this feature should come in handy when you need traffic information when you’re traveling from one of your favorite places to another.

Preferences

Communication is key to every good relationship, be it your relationship with actual people, or the relationship you have with your digital people (especially with the one who’s not Siri).

So to make your experience even better, Microsoft has decided to add a feature that lets you customize your preferences, and it lets you tell your digital secretary all about it.

To take advantage of this feature, simply go through all the things on Cortana’s ‘Notebook’ and put in as much information as you’d like to.

Each subject listed on Cortana’s ‘Notebook’ is tied to a ‘card’, which actually contains information relevant to your preferences — and these information she can use to improve not just the quality of your search results, but the quality of you overall experience as well.

Voice Control

Cortana’s not only available to chat with you 24/7, she’s also just waiting for you to call her anytime you need her — that is, if you want her to.

A word of caution, however. This feature may cause your battery to drain a lot faster, if and when the device that you are on happens to be a laptop running on battery power.

But to get your digital assistant to have ears waiting for you to say her name all day, you can do so by going through her settings, which can be found right below the option that says ‘Linked Accounts’ under her ‘Notebook’.

You can also train her to get her to recognize your voice easily.

Limitations

Cortana’s outstanding features may be what makes her better than others like her, but she is still far from perfect as she was created with the intent of many of its features to work exclusively with Microsoft’s products.

This means that every search query you make will be handled by Bing, all weather inquiries you have will also have to be handled by Bing, and all your email transactions will have to be through Outlook.

With the exception of course, of those times that you choose to handle things yourself rather than passing them on to her.

Connections

Another highly impressive feature of Cortana’s is its ability to establish connections between your accounts, which means you can check who among your friends are online at the moment through your Xbox Live account connection, and you actually can check the profiles of people you are scheduled to meet with through your LinkedIn account connection.