November 3rd, 2015 3:39 am

Hey Cortana

Any good personal assistant should be able to give you the information you need when you need it. Cortana can offer a lot of personalized information based on what it knows about you. These commands can offer information about your schedule, the weather,

Much of this is dependent on how many of Microsoft’s services you use. So if, for example, you don’t use Microsoft’s Calendar app, you may not be able to get information about your schedule. In some cases, you can sync Google services to fill in the gaps, as well. We’ll mark what services these commands depend on where appropriate:

  • What’s the weather like? If you have location services enabled, you can ask this question to find out what the weather is like in your area. Alternatively, you can ask about the weather in a specific area to get the same information for any area.
  • What’s on my schedule? If you have any events scheduled, you can ask Cortana what’s coming up today, tomorrow, next week, or any other time frame. You can also ask natural questions like “What do I have going on this weekend?” to find out what’s on your calendar. This relies on Outlook or the built-in Calendar app. You can sync your Google Calendar, though you won’t be able to add new events.
  • What’s the status of my flight? If Microsoft knows about any flights you have coming up (typically by email via Outlook), you can ask about “my flight” to get up-to-date information about it. Alternatively, you can ask about a flight by number, if you know it. Syncing Gmail with the built-in Mail app or Outlook may help Cortana pick up on some of this info.
  • How long will it take me to get to [place]? If you have location services enabled, you can ask about travel time to a particular place to get an estimate of how long it will take to get there.
  • Show me directions to [place]. Similarly, you can use Cortana to find directions to a place if you know the name or address. This will open in Bing Maps. At the moment, there doesn’t seem to be a way to open it in an alternative app. Technically, you can use any Maps app available on the Windows Store, but none of the typical established mapping companies seem to have a worthwhile option in the Store yet.
  • Show me my notes. If you’re using OneNote, you can use this command to find your notes. You can also filter it by date range. For example “Show me my notes from January 2015” to filter the results.

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