Did you know Cortana can already cook your dinner, put the kids to bed, and wash your laundry? Okay, that’s not entirely true, but the depth of the personal assistant’s potential might surprise you.
Most Windows users probably only use her for reminders, internet searches, and directions, but there’s a lot more to her than that.
Bryan Roper teased us about some of the potential back at CES 2016, but since then little has been said or written about how Cortana can help you outside of your immediate computing environment.
In this article, I’m going to introduce you to some third-party apps Cortana can integrate with.
How to See Your Cortana-Enabled Apps
Since Microsoft rolled out the Creators Update in early 2017, the process for finding which of your apps work with Cortana has changed.
Now you need to open Cortana and go to Home > Tips and tricks > See more tips > Show my Cortana-powered apps. Click on each individual app to see which verbal commands you can use.
Oddly, this menu is not accessible if you try and access it through Cortana tips section of Notebook.
Note: Some apps are country-specific. Cortana features might not be available on apps in your region.
We’ve all been there. You’re running late for a flight, train, or important meeting, and suddenly realize you’ve forgotten to book a taxi.
If you’ve configured the Uber app, you can get a taxi ordered without wasting precious seconds. Cortana will confirm the pick-up location and destination, let you know when your cab is on its way, and even track your journey across town.
- “Get me a taxi on Uber”
- “Get me an Uber X”
Download — Uber for Windows 10
Sure, the Netflix integration might not be the most useful Cortana feature, but it’s certainly one of the most impressive.
Picture the scene. You sit on your sofa and press a button to roll down your projector screen. You ask Cortana to play your favorite movie on Netflix, and your SmartThings system automatically turns off the lights and adjusts your smart speakers for movie playback.
It’s got a wow factor that’s hard to replicate.
- “Find [show/movie] on Netflix”
- “Play [show/movie] on Netflix”
- “Look up [show/movie] on Netflix”
Download — Netflix for Windows 10
Fitbit and Cortana create a strange juxtaposition. On the one hand, being able to tell Cortana what you just ate is useful. On the other hand, the nature of Cortana is inherently going to make you lazier – thus defeating the purpose of using Fitbit in the first place.
Nonetheless, being able to log all your food and exercise so easily undoubtedly makes you more like to keep using the Fitbit ecosystem. Hopefully, it will help you move towards achieving your fitness goals.
- “Fitbit, I ate [food] for [meal]”
- “Fitbit, I did [exercise] for [time]”
Download — Fitbit for Windows 10
Wunderlist will eventually be discontinued. Microsoft intends to bundle its best features into the new To-Do app.
However, the company has promised Wunderlist won’t be shuttered until the entire migration is complete, so we might be waiting for a while.
As such, if you’re a Wunderlist user, download the Windows Store app today and start using Cortana to organize your life.
- “Create a Holiday Planning list”
- “Add [task] to [list name]”
- “Show me [list name]”
Even when Wunderlist eventually dies, it’s safe to assume these same commands will work in To-Do.
Download — Wunderlist for Windows 10
5. Marriott International
Remember when you had to rely on your personal secretary or company’s HR staff to book your hotel when you were traveling for business?
Not anymore. Cortana is well on the way to killing the role of a classic office secretary, and one of the first hotel groups to embrace the new reality is Marriott International.
Cortana can access the Marriott app and tell you about any upcoming reservations, search for nearby hotels, show you on-screen photos of your destination, and even recite local amenities and city guides for more than 700 global destinations.
- “Find a hotel in [place]”
- “Show my reservations”
- “Show my rewards”
Download — Marriott International for Windows 10
If you’re an avid RSS user, you might have stumbled upon FeedLab in the Windows Store. It’s highly customizable, works on most devices, and is easy to use.
Best of all, it also works with Cortana. Using the two services in conjunction, you can summon the latest news from your favorite sites or specific topics.
- “FeedLab, look for a sports website”
- “Show me the latest articles”
- “FeedLab, open the category ‘News'”
Download — FeedLab for Windows 10
WhatsApp might be the dominant force in the instant messaging world, but Viber is still going strong with more than 800 million registered users.
Also, unlike WhatsApp, the dedicated Viber app works on your desktop computer. Of course, you can use WhatsApp in your web browser, but then it won’t integrate with Cortana.
Using Cortana, you can send a message, place a call, and start a video call.
- “Call [name] on Viber”
- “Reply [message] on Viber”
- “Tell [name] [message] on Viber”
- “Start a video call with [name] on Viber”
Download — Viber for Windows 10
8. Bank of America
Banking apps don’t seem to be likely candidates for receiving Cortana integration. But, if you have money with Bank of America, you’ll be surprised at how well the combination works.
It’s one of the most integrated apps on this list. You can get balances, pay bills, transfer money between accounts, learn about nearby ATMs, and even contact customer support.
Perhaps the most impressive feature is the app’s integration with the People app. You can import contact details and send money to any contact you have saved.
- “Where is the nearest ATM?”
- “Send money to [name]”
Download — Bank of America for Windows 10
Which Are Your Favorite Cortana Integrations?
I’ve shown you eight apps that integrate with Cortana. They all have very different purposes from each other, but they all utilize Cortana’s abilities to make interacting with the product or service faster and smoother.
And this is just the start. In late-2016, Microsoft announced it would make Cortana available to third-party device makers. As 2017 progresses, we can expect to see a slew of new apps and products with Cortana integrations.
But what other apps integrate with Cortana right now? Which services do you rely on to make yourself more productive?
Image Credit: chanchai howharn via Shutterstock.com