Microsoft's Cortana gets Gmail and Google Calendar support

Credit Bing

New hands-free, eyes-free capabilities were added to Cortana to help with email and calendar management as well as the new Skills Suggestion and Chaining capabilities, giving Cortana the ability to understand users' overall intent and offer the next most relevant skill.

Microsoft's partnership with Reddit will benefit developers by bringing the Reddit data and API to Power BI, helping get a comprehensive business module to utilize Microsoft's Artificial Intelligence.

At an event in San Francisco, Microsoft announced a slew of improvements coming to Bing, including AI-powered features and Reddit integration.

The company laid out the ways it's injecting AI-smarts into its Bing search engine, which a Microsoft exec reiterated is actually used by a good amount of people - whether they know it or not, through partnerships with Yahoo.

As an example, Bing will now provide more than one reputable source to validate its answers so that users can have more confidence in their authenticity.

Microsoft's digital assistant also faces strong competition from established players such as Amazon.com Inc.'s Alexa and Google Assistant. One can identify individual objects within photos that appear in image search results so that users can shop for those items.




For search queries that have opposing perspectives, Bing will present the information of both viewpoints, so users can see the information upfront before clicking on results. Also if the user is searching for any general information and Reddit conversations hold relevant answers, then Bing will display snippets of those conversations directly on your search results.

Lastly, Microsoft has added some new AI features to make Bing more conversational.

For Office 365 users, Microsoft is launching a preview of Insights in Excel, which can automatically seek out and highlight patterns that it detects. Microsoft said the Office suite will be better able to pull content across multiple documents (for example, looking up a definition or the meaning of acronym on another OneDrive document).

Microsoft Word will also get a new feature called Acronyms. This feature will roll out to Word Online for Office 365 commercial subscribers in 2018. Cortana will be able to sort emails and provide summaries of the most important ones from Outlook, Gmail and other accounts. Outlook will helpfully surface driving and transit directions, along with an ETA based on your current location.

The three new features build on what Microsoft has already introduced this month, including the Whiteboard app for Windows 10.

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