Microsoft’s Cortana assistant for Windows Phone has a host of new features thanks to closer integration with the Bing search engine.
Improvements in Bing’s speech recognition technology means Windows Phone users can now find out how long it will take them to get home or to their dinner date.
“Every morning, Cortana shows you a daily glance of all the information you need to start your day, Microsoft wrote on its Bing blog. “She displays current weather, the first appointment on your schedule, projected travel time to work and the top headlines of the day.
“Many of you have asked us to create something similar to end your day. We heard you loud and clear. Starting today, Cortana will show you travel time to home and upcoming items on your calendar so you’re sure to be on time for that dinner date or know to go to bed early for that 7 a.m. meeting.”
Users will need to add their home and office addresses within Cortana to take full advantage of this feature.
The voice powered personal assistant can also recommend apps it deems useful depending on your geographical location, while Cortana will also pipe up if an app you already have installed on your phone is useful in a certain place.
If Windows Phone users look up a flight through Bing or by asking Cortana more than twice in a week, the app will now remember the flight and keep tabs on it for you and ask if you’d like to book it.
Elsewhere, the update will also feature a Concert Watch feature to inform users when their favourite artists may be coming to their home city. It does this by logging searches through Bing.com, Windows Phone or Windows 8.
The improvements come as Microsoft continues to challenge Android’s Google Now and Siri on iOS. All three services continue to improve and provide great value for users. Recent reports have also hinted Microsoft may include Cortana within its next desktop OS.