What else would you want Cortana to help with?

Microsoft is pushing Cortana in the Windows Phone 8.1 update, which is currently available as a Preview for Developers. The personal assistant has been a large hit with consumers (and developers) so we can see why people would like to see Cortana helping out more with their daily lives, but just how far would you be wanting to integrate the assistant?

Perhaps you require assistance in the kitchen, have some minor health symptoms or simply despise booting up your desktop PC and waiting for Windows to load (unless you're luck enough to have a half-decent machine), wouldn't it be neat if Cortana could go beyond functionality on the phone and tap into connected hardware? The possibilities are there, especially with what Microsoft will add to Windows Phone in the future.

We're interested in hearing some ideas as to what you'd like Cortana to help you with. Be sure to join in the discussion over on our community forum and let us know your thoughts in the comments. Also, don't forget the Cortana UserVoice, where you can actually add your own suggestions and whatnot.


Reader comments

What else would you want Cortana to help with?



Lol!.. You have to give credit to NIST as well... When he burns me he burns me bad...
But, seriously... I would like it if Cortana could fix XBM....

You do know that Cortana is transgender right? Not that it matters now because "she's" so hot, but some guys might care.

I just want Cortana to respond to all of my questions instead of doing unnecessary web searches every now and then.

Maybe she could just start reading all of the major points on the Bing page.. Seriously!.. Like a quick summary, and then ask us which one to open.. They should add this as an option because I'm sure some wouldn't want that.. At least let us beta test that as an option.. Who knows, it might come in handy, and not be annoying..

Relax, it's in beta. Remember how Siri worked when it was launched initially? (no offence but it still is a joke though!). PVAs get better with days. I've noticed Cortana now answers me those questions which she didn't when I asked for the first time. So they definitely are improving...

I want to tell cortana where i am and then she adjusts all my settings for that location. I.e "im at work", "ok chief". Then she turns down my finger to vibrate, activates pin lock, changes my lock screen and turns off wifi and data. Then "im driving", "ok chief", she switches on gps, Bluetooth, activates driving mode, starts here drive and plays my favorite playlist. You get the point....

I want to tell cortana where i am and then she adjusts all my settings for that location. I.e "im at work", "ok chief". Then she turns down my ringer to vibrate, activates pin lock, changes my lock screen and turns off wifi and data. Then "im driving", "ok chief", she switches on gps, Bluetooth, activates driving mode, starts here drive and plays my favorite playlist. You get the point....

i agreee on time and also when i say remind me to shuit off the stove it just set and sond and a pop up most of the time i dont here the sond I just see the pop up I would rather she said its time for you to turn off the stove or call some one or feed the dog, etc.

Fantastic suggestion. I'm also extremely eager, as an option my paranoid friends, to have her 'always listening' to make better use of hands free. Until then an update that would keep the screen turned off when in my pocket would be nice. Holding my headphone button makes her wake up my phone and then the back or home button is pressed and apps start loading. Its a bit of a mess and something that didn't happen in WP8.

I thought about having a feature like that as well.. The only problem is if you are say sitting in a meeting and a loud ass reminder goes off,it wouldn't be good. Quiet time would take care of this,however if you need to be reminded at the same time you were at the meeting,it would be a problem. Just an example. Maybe you're with your side chick or whatever and you get a reminder to go pick up your main squeeze in 30 minutes.. That would be a problem lol

It would be cool if she could whisper something to you when you are in a meeting.  Basically, you would see a visual on the screen. You tap it and she whispers.

What you think about geo-tagged settings.. Ex. Turning phone to vibrate when at work, turning on wi-fi when at home and so on...

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Instead of saying "remind me..." Ask her to "set an alarm for..." That will get you a full fledged alarm vs just a reminder

I don't mind search results if it has the answer to my question on top. Some bing results show answers and some just show various websites. This seems to be a limitation on bing. Bing need to be improved to show more answer cards. They seem to be behind google on this. Even when it has a card it is below the wikkipedia link. The answer card should be on top.

Or to tell you the weather even if you only ask for it by state or country. Just assume I mean the capital of said state/country woman!

And date as well .. !   Way round it at the moment is to install Aria as well ...  then use
"Aria tell me the time / date"   Rather sad needing a 3rd party speech app for such a simple request !

Developers should have a chance to make apps that work with Cortana, so it's bad if Microsoft is the one adding the features leaving the developers out.

But I do not want to install 300 apps to have Cornada do a task per app, one to turn on the light, one to wake up the computer, one to tell me when the sun comes out.

Rather than apps, I wish they worked more like plugins, a single app where developers can plug in, not filling up my app list.

It seems to be a common misconception that people are hacking into Cortana to get these things done. I've heard this sentiment already 3 times just today. This is not hacking, people. Microsoft has provided a full API to Cortana so developers can make apps. It's how Wikipedia had voice integration within the first week or two of the developer preview. I wish people would follow the news more closely on their devices. It would lower the amount of misinformation going around.

On that note, a bunch of apps could get annoying. I've thought of that too. But remember, you would only really need to go into the app for settings. Cortana would control the bulk of it.

We need something like this, at least a Cortana Hub, like the Games Hub, where you'll have the apps for cortana, like the list of Apps with Cortana comands, but with a prettier design.

But yeah, I rather like plugins for cortana.

Technically, cortana sort of has a hub. You could put a setting for app control where you control your interests and quiet hours within Cortana's hub.

I would really just like for it to work with the Calendar app and let me know when I need to leave for the next appointment based on its location (and tell me directions by car, transit or walking). It's kind of surprising such an obvious feature is not present, when for example Google Now has had this for a long time.

Would you mind to explain to a child of a lesser god how to tell her to do it? Because right now it doesn't for me.....
If I say " new task".... It opens a web page. Unless of course the problem is just that she dislike me.

You have to have the Cortana app visible on your home screen. It will display the commute information with traffic for your next (near) appointment. I personally have had it notify me that it's time to leave. Also, you must put the address of your appointment in the calendar location.

I have Cortana in the Start Screen as well as the address in the appointment but it does not work. Cortana does not reminds me of coming appointments. If I set a reminder the usual screen appears but Cortana is.... silent.
Well, let' s see I'd Cyan will help.

How? Do I really have to program when I go to work? I have my school on my calendar, I never get reminded for that...

You mean the time to go home and work? That works for me (though only with car directions), but it doesn't work with calendar appointments, I was never able to make either Cortana or the calendar app to recognize a location and alert me about it. Can you make it work with calendar appointments?

Help us out @electricessence.  It tells me when to go to and from work, but if it doesn't do that for calendar events like the OP mentioned.

What are we missing???

You need to add Traffic to your Interest in Cortana's notebook, then the two options for alerts to your calendar appointments and favourite locations are there.

Does Cortana remind you to leave for calendar appointments with a location specified? Or just work in the morning and home in the afternoon? It doesn't work for me.

Geofencing is supported on Windows Phone in the current build. Granted its not as inuitive or well put together as Google. The primary difference from geofencing in Android vs Windows Phone is, WP looks for the location in an entry on the phone itself, where as google uses its web services to gather reminders. You first need to go into cortanas notebook and into Places then input an address and give it a name like "Work" or "Pharmacy" and then based on your geographical location you will be reminded when you arrive. So far its worked for me every time. I understand this is a bit annoying, but understand it saves on battery life.


Yeah that works fine, but if I have school as an appointment, I add the location to the calendar and Cortana, I get no best time to get there with current driving conditions. Even though I want to be somewhere 15 minutes early.

I just want her to say my name more. What did we go through all the pronunciation checking for if she's never gonna say our name?

Oh and she's gonna have to gain the ability to track my packages I'd she wants to be any more than a novelty.

But I think he means more like go through emails to find tracking info, just like she does for flights.

"We're interested in hearing some ideas as to what you'd like Cortana to help you with. Be sure to join in the discussion over on our community forum and let us know your thoughts in the comments. Also, don't forget the Cortana UserVoice, where you can actually add your own suggestions and whatnot."

To be fair, TLRtheory is just doing what Rich asked us to.

even the os isnt out it a developer preview how many of yall are developers? have patience the cnsumer versions will be out before you know it.Then yall acan complain

I agree with everything you said, plus I want her to be voice integrated with Maps. That would make my life so much easier.

I love that Cortana sees that I have an appointment and lets me know how long it will take to get there with traffic. It would be more useful if it have a bit more heads up warning about when to leave. People always should be leaving a bit earlier so they have a few more minutes before their start time. I also want to see a traffic service that uses not only the current traffic conditions, but the average conditions for that time of day!

Does Cortana recognize the location in your appointments that you insert in the Calendar app? It never reminded me of any appointment I have set in the calendar. Is there anything special I need to do with the location field in the Calendar app?

Add Traffic to your Interests in Cortana's notebook, then the two options for alerts to your calendar appointments and favourite locations are there.

In Calendar, for whatever appointment, you NEED to input the address into the location field on the calendar event. I don't think she'll remind you when to leave, but she'll have the map all loaded and how long it'll take you to get there and what route to take, all in Cortana app.

When I use the actual address for the location of the calendar item, she will remind me when I should leave to make the meeting time. it says something like "You should leave now. it tsakes 31 minutes to get there" or something to that affect.

I think being able to tell Cortana or having her learn how punctual you are would be a fantastic option. I know some people who are content showing up right at a scheduled time where I myself have to have 15 minutes or else I feel late.

I heard about that new music locker in OneDrive, looks pretty damn useful for someone like me who listens to alot songs that aren't on Xbox Music or even official for that matter.

Make it available in other countries and in other languages, overall is great... Making it less robotic with time will be very nice too

Cortana read me Fred's last text message or what did I say to Jane in my email. If Windows Phone was designed to show you what was most important at a glance so that you can get back to what really matters then Cortana should be the voice that helps accomplish the same premise.

Well I think basics first and foremost. You need to get the small things right before you start dreaming of future. Walk before you run.

How about telling Cortland to move the app I have on my phone over to the Xbox... say the weather channel or flixter so I can watch a trailer on the big screen

I hate that you have to say "What's the weather in Celsius", I will love to just ask “What’s the weather”


I think they mean the old way the "me" hub sort of did. She would tweet instead of opening twitter then recognizing what you said. It's a long process that ought to be condensed.

Tell me the time. The name of the currently playing song. Tie into Bing maps added transit directions and times so that I can ask when the next train or bus to somewhere is. Quick list.

I don't get the "tell me the time" thing. It's on glance, the lock screen, and the upper right corner of the phone. Why press a button, and ask for the time when it's right there?

That reminds me, I would like to use Cortana with my headphones while the phone is in my pocket, cause everytime I do that the phone unlocks the screen and buttons start being pressed. Then when I take it out of my pocket, somehow I updated my facebook status to "f JJ C bug ur dad ftr" and I'm a button away from buying Justin Bieber on Xbox Music (._. ) nearly shat my pants when I got home.

Would love if MS could fix something so that Cortana could learn new languages by talking to "her". Home education... Big possibilities ;)

I've yet to get her to read my email. Strange I know, but I thought part of this notebook was to give her permission to read my email for flight info and other appointments. I've yet to get a single automatic reminder or addition based on flight's I've set up. 

I wonder if it's because it's forwarded mail... But still.

I want to be able to say "read my my last text (or email)" and have her do it. I know you can have Cortana automatically read you your texts, but that's kind of annoying, and she can't do emails.

Same here. I'd quite like it to work like the phone control on the movie Her (not the self-aware OS but the one they used before it). It will read you messages and email subjects on demand, and then you can choose to read the whole email now or later.

Here's a new idea... Have Cortana answer the phone for you while driving or some moment that you can't talk and dictate the call through text instead!

Dictate an entire document if need be.  Just have some initiation command like Cortana, New Dictation called "My new Essay" and then you just talk away and end with, "Cortana end dictation".  or something.

Then, integrated with your Windows 8.1 profile and Office or even OneNote etc.. "Cortana, open document My new Essay in Word" on my home PC, or on my tablet, or on my Work Netbook etc. so you can review and edit it.

All that and/or just bring Cortana to Windows 8.. I would love to track various random thoughts throughout the day without having to actually just sit and type or go through many steps to record or otherwise transcribe.

This would be a real game changer dragon has a hard time with this. It would be necessary to train the app either with collection of words and sentences or a script but what a great idea The only thing you forgot is listening while blocking out background noise

Set quiet hours with voice. Not just turn it on and off. Example: "set quiet hours until 6:00pm" for a peaceful nap.

Remember things said to her. Like: "My favorite song is *insert song*" -> remember, so next time "Play my favorite song" *song comes up* :)

Not out loud, probably because they don't want you to have to wait until she finishes her greeting before you can speak.

Remind me ten minutes after I get to work to talk to my boss...
Useless as it is now, if I'm still parking my car and get a reminder. Can't snooze them either...

It's not a complete solution but you can tell her to set an alarm (which can be snoozed) vs a reminder

I think it would be great for all of us if she could tell us what the most important things she learned today. In that way we can track/learn the commands to make her work for us

Bing still a preview ? Because if you're not in the US, it's hardly functional.

It's one of MS biggest faults - they're very US-centric.

To send emails just like messages. Even good if apps like WhatsApp, hike, viber etc could get similar integration, Or they can integrate Skype at least.

To play a song using Nokia Music
i.e. "Play _______ on Nokia music"
instead of using Xbox music as default.

It would be helpful if I could ask her to build a grocery list of the common things I buy and then tell me where I can find it the cheapest based on the stores I go to the most frequently.

I know that's quite the challenge and prob beyond the scope of what she was designed to do, but if she had an open API AND where the stores had their data online for perusing, it would be helpful.

Of course, I'm still trying to get her to tell me when to leave for work and home.

I was actually thinking of something similar not too long ago. Asking her to notify you when blank goes on sale. I would imagine that's something an assistant would do for a budget conscious employer. Of course if you could afford a real assistant you might not be as concerned with the next time hamburger meat goes on sale.

The problem with this is that stores post fake prices to get the traffic. This is one of the reasons google shopping fell apart. You could never actually find the lowest price because so many stores f'd around

Would be good if Cortana could to take my calls, relay a message and then give an option to either end the call, take a message or access my answer phone service.

I want Cortana to find a way to restore music hub, Facebook integration, games hub and pictures hub as they were in WP8 :)

Maybe in some cloud connected way, have it communicate with my Xbox One / Cable Box like..

Cortana, record Game of Thrones for me tonight..
"Ok, I've set up to record Game of Thrones on HBO at 9:00 pm tonight"


I thing Moto X has this feature, always on ? Saying her name would wake the phone and start the interaction. Nice!

Amen to that! Set timer for x minutes and have our work to the second instead of becoming an alarm!

I wish the os could intelligently detect behavior to hook into. Devs shouldn't have to program a million APIs just to make their app decent. Itd be nice to spend more time on the actual app or game itself

I've only tried Cortina out using the region hack but I sure as hell hope it improves for the UK. Most questions just result in a Bing return instead of a meaningful reply like Joe B demonstrated at Build. I think he just picked questions that gave impressive results like weather or banana calories. Ask it for a local cinema and it picks some random place 3 miles away. Ask it for World Cup fixtures and it gave a link to FIFA...

Considering the ebay app works with the notification system, I'd take this a step further and say have Cortana be able to take action based on incoming notifications.

I wish I could change her image, instead of the halo thing, put an image of herself as she appeared in the game. ;)

Use start screen background with white color theme.
+ Notification or Action centre to be transparent with blurred background.

Cortana for Xbox please. And Surface and Windows 8.1. I want her everywhere so she can remind me of stuff wherever I am. If I'm in a game, I want an appointment reminder.