Published: Thu, December 14, 2017
Technology | By Russell Knight

Microsoft is bringing more AI smarts to Office 365 and Cortana

Microsoft is bringing more AI smarts to Office 365 and Cortana

Probably the most visible AI product that Microsoft has is Cortana, Microsoft says that Cortana has helped answer 18 billion questions and has 148 million active users globally. Further, the representative added that in the USA alone, almost one-third of desktop searches are done on Bing. In addition to being able to access calendar appointments and trigger reminders, users can also use voice commands with Cortana-powered speakers like Harman Kardon Inc.'s Invoke device, to access their calendar.

Bing Intelligent Search, which shows Reddit results for AMAs, questions, and communities. Microsoft's "skill chaining", meanwhile, offers suggestions based on certain actions. Microsoft is hoping its intelligent features in Bing will allow it to stand out - even against a rival that's widely seen as a leader in AI. The digital assistant will be able to check your emails from Outlook, Gmail, and others, and provide a summary of the ones it thinks are most important.

Microsoft is bringing more AI smarts to Office 365 and Cortana
Microsoft is bringing more AI smarts to Office 365 and Cortana

At Microsoft's Everyday AI event they announced a number of new features coming to Bing and Cortana and Office, all driven by their AI advances.

Microsoft is also trying to distinguish its 2nd-place search engine from long-dominant Google and position itself as an innovator in finding real-world applications for the latest advances in artificial intelligence. A result of the Healthcare NExT initiative, this project will supposedly empower Microsoft's healthcare partners in creating healthcare virtual assistants.

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For Office 365 users, Microsoft is launching a preview of Insights in Excel, which can automatically seek out and highlight patterns that it detects. Microsoft showed a preview of Office Insights, which uses machine learning to analyze Excel spreadsheets and suggest charts or pivot tables based on the data.

Microsoft will also be updating Word with machine learning through a new feature called Acronyms which will utilise data from Microsoft Graph to find and reveal the definitions of terms that have been used previously across both emails and documents.

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Additionally, the Seeing AI app is getting new features like currency, handwriting, colour recognition, and light detection that will be available for users across 35 countries. Acronyms will start rolling out to Word Online for Office 365 commercial Insiders in 2018.

Microsoft is also expanding its AI-powered tools in Outlook with the introduction of its digital assistant into the mobile app with its new "time to leave" functionality. The CM Launcher with Cortana integration is now available in beta.

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