Cortana now scans your emails to create reminders

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If you recently told a colleague to send an important report via email but missed adding it to your reminder, Cortana now has your back. Microsoft is rolling out a new feature to the personal assistant that lets it remind you of commitments you may have made in your emails.

The Suggested Reminders functionality allows Cortana to scan your email thanks to a machine learning system developed by Microsoft’s Research division to generate suggestions of tasks in an effort to help you remember the things you promised to do in your emails.

How it works

The machine learning performs the scan locally and sends the reminder details to Microsoft’s servers. Cortana will not only analyze sentences containing time but also look for phrases that indicate the language we use to make commitments.

You do not have to change the way you compose emails, according to Microsoft. To take advantage of the new feature, you only need to give Cortana permission to monitor your email — however creepy that sounds. Once you have set some sort of deadline, Cortana will create a reminder and alert you to it ahead of the due date. The Cortana home will also display other suggested reminders. Microsoft explained:

To check the feature out for yourself, make sure you’re signed in to Cortana, and have given communications consent. Then check that either an Outlook.com or Office 365 work or school account is connected through the connected services section in your Cortana notebook. Try emailing yourself a commitment like “I will send you the report by Friday” and look out for that suggested reminder from Cortana.

The feature provides links to the email from which Cortana created the reminder. Then, Cortana sends notifications to the user prior to the deadline. Microsoft says the stable version of the feature is now more accurate at analyzing your emails, though that is quite a claim.

Redmond first announced the feature earlier last year. Suggested reminders are now available to Windows 10 users in the U.S., with iOS and Android support coming soon. Microsoft will also add support for other email services in the future.

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