More and more apps are being developed or updated to work with Cortana, your virtual personal assistant available on Lumia and other phones with Windows Phone 8.1.
They integrate with Cortana’s listening capability so you can ask her to perform tasks within those apps using just your voice. So without further ado, here are just a few of the apps that can be used with Cortana to make your life more productive and enjoyable.
This third-party app taps into Bing’s “popular now” topics, from world news to pop culture. It’s a quick, easy way to see what people are talking about online.
Find out what’s trending in order of popularity: Via voice control, ask Cortana “Cortrends first,” and she’ll tell you the top topic of the day. (Today, it’s “Pauley Perrette,” an American television actress.) If you say “Cortrends third,” Cortana will oblige you with the third-most searched topic. In this case, it’s Prince Harry’s latest romance.
Of course, you can also launch Cortrends as a stand-alone app. It will automatically show you the most popular topics being searched on Bing, then give you more information.
If you’re at your favorite café and want to tell your friends on Foursquare that you’re dining there – but your hands are otherwise occupied with knife and fork – simply tell Cortana, “Foursquare, check in.” The virtual assistant will oblige willingly.
You can also ask her to inform you of any specials that any nearby shops, services and restaurants are offering, show what’s trending, and where you stand on the leaderboard compared with your friends.
Instantly play your favorite songs on music-streaming app MixRadio by saying out loud to Cortana, “MixRadio, play me.” Soon, your personalized radio station will be playing the tunes you love the most. And if a song comes on that you’re not in the mood to listen to at the moment, just tell Cortana, “MixRadio, skip,” and Cortana will shuffle the songs to play another track.
Microsoft recently updated Skype to fully integrate with Cortana. So now, she can place a video or phone call on Skype for you. All you have to do is say out loud, “Skype, video call [name of contact],” or “Call [name of contact] on Skype,” and within a few seconds, she’ll get whoever you want to speak to on the line.
With Cortana, it’s now even easier to compose and send tweets. Tell your virtual assistant, “Twitter, new tweet” and Cortana will open the app for you. Then speak out loud what your tweet should say and Cortana will type it for you instantly.
If she doesn’t transcribe your voice exactly, repeat the message or edit the text the old-fashioned way. And if you want to add a photo, simply tap the camera or photo icon.
You can also ask Cortana to search Twitter by keyword or hashtag. For instance, I asked her to search “hashtag Sharknado,” and up popped all the tweets on the popular movie of the same name.
If you already have Windows Phone 8.1 on your smartphone, you can find which apps already installed on your Lumia or other device can work with Cortana.
Here’s how: After you launch Cortana, click “see more” on her home screen and scroll down to “Apps.” There, you will see the list of compatible apps. For example, the image on the right shows the non-native apps on my phone that work with Cortana.
Stay tuned — we’ll let you know of even more Cortana and WP 8.1 updates in the coming weeks and months!