Microsoft has announced new enhanced voice capabilities to Microsoft Outlook, allowing people to search, compose emails, and schedule meetings using their voice. For now, the new feature will be available in Outlook for iOS. While Android users may have to wait for some time as the tech giant is still working on the Android support for the new update.
The new Cortana-powered voice assistance support will help users navigate the Outlook app on mobile platforms. The dictation abilities that were a major part of Word and Outlook web version for many years are now set to debut in the mobile version. Users can respond to messages with their voice on iOS or use the speech-to-text functionality to write new emails. Cortana will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to perform multiple tasks without giving text commands.
The voice mode can be activated by tapping on the new plus sign icon in Outlook mobile app that will appear soon. As per a blog post, users will be able to ask things like “When’s my next team meeting?” or look for colleagues’ files and calendar entries. They can even use voice to attach files quickly, as Outlook uses the Microsoft Graph to show relevant documents.
Besides voice assistance, Microsoft has also launched another service named Scheduler Microsoft 365. It is designed to help Microsoft 365 administrators to schedule meetings. After plugging into Cortana, it allows users to schedule meetings using email replies or simply writing, “Cortana, please find a time to meet next week.”
Scheduler plays an important part for Microsoft to reposition Cortana as a productivity assistant. First launched in December 2015, Cortana was shut down by the California-based tech giant earlier this year. In 2019, CEO Satya Nadella had revealed that Microsoft no longer saw Cortana as a competitor to Alexa and Google Assistant.