Since 2019, Microsoft’s Cortana personal assistant has allowed users to listen to emails in their Outlook mobile inbox.
Two years down the line, Microsoft is adding a feature that makes voice a much more significant part of the Outlook experience.
Users would now be able to dictate email for Microsoft Outlook. Users would also be able to schedule meetings, and conduct searches.
The feature would first launch on Apple’s iOS devices, then later released for Android device users.
To access Outlook’s new capabilities, users would have to tap the plus icon floating above the app’s main navigation bar, and then tap the “Use Voice” prompt.
Users would be able to ask Cortana questions like “When’s my next team meeting?” Users would also be able to make more complex requests like “Set up a meeting with Jill and her team for next Monday about the Q1 budget.”
When scheduling an event, the new feature would also make it possible for users to direct the assistant to add certain individuals to the invite.
Cortana would also be able to add attachments to emails. Basically, the speech-to-text tool give users the ability to both respond to emails and write new ones.
Microsoft says that its Graph tool, which provides the assistant with context when it needs it, is used as the powering too behind the functionalities.
As The Verge points out, Microsoft’s announcement aligns with the company’s broader push to reframe Cortana as a productivity assistant instead of a competitor to Alexa and Google Assistant.
To make this happen, the company recently discontinued the Cortana iOS and Android apps.