What you need to know
- Scheduler, which is available today, will make scheduling meetings easier.
- Three new voice features have hit Outlook mobile for iOS.
- Those features will arrive on Android at a later date.
Microsoft has successfully pioneered its own secretary app via Scheduler, which allows you to use Cortana to schedule meetings for you. No one likes scheduling meetings, after all, so why not delegate the task to a virtual assistant?
Here's how Scheduler works: You tell Cortana when you need a meeting scheduled. She then skims through your Outlook availability to find a matching time with your colleague's Outlook availability and locks a date and time. For people outside your organization, Scheduler still works since Cortana can email others with availability times and send invites.
The point is to free up users from the painful back-and-forths typically required for meeting scheduling. Now, it can all be done via Scheduler and Cortana. And you don't have to worry about things getting jumbled based on how you phrase your requests; the Microsoft blog post announcing Scheduler's availability stressed that you could issue simple or incredibly complex commands and achieve the same quality results.
The only catch with Scheduler is that it has a price tag — specifically, $10 per month (though a few factors can affect the price).
On the Outlook side of the announcement fence, dictation, natural language search, and meeting scheduling voice features are all hitting Outlook mobile today for iOS and sometime soon for Android. Though these features are all fairly self-explanatory and should be familiar to Microsoft product regulars, here's a short rundown of what each one entails:
- Dictation will allow you to talk while Outlook mobile handles speech-to-text for functions such as emails. It will avoid misspelling the names of people via the power of Microsoft Graph.
- Natural language search means you can speak how you normally would, and Outlook will still understand what you're asking for, no special keywords required.
- Meeting scheduling is basically a fusion of the above two functions with a meeting-focused slant.
These features are available on iOS right now and will find their way to Android in the near future, according to Microsoft.
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