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April 30, 2015

Cortana Makes Friends with Your Favorite Apps

As a truly personal digital assistant, Cortana is there to help people get things done. When we set out to design Cortana, we talked to real world personal assistants and learned that they do a few things really well, and rely on a network of experts for everything else.

Cortana is no different. Cortana knows the user and his or her context, but for many tasks, Cortana will rely on others to bring specific expertise—that’s where we’ll work with developers to create new experiences that help our customers get things done quickly and easily.

Today at Build, we announced that Universal Windows apps can integrate with Cortana and deliver new experiences for our customers. In addition to the over 500 applications that are already integrating with Cortana from Groupon to LinkedIn to Insteon in Windows Phone 8.1, we showcased a few partners who are already integrating with Cortana in Windows 10, including Viber, Uber, and Shopular. We’ll have many more examples to share as we get closer to the availability of Windows 10 this summer.

Universal Windows apps integrate with Cortana through the Voice Command Definition extensibility API. When integrating with Cortana, an application can choose to get launched or choose to interact with customers through Cortana’s user interface canvas. Immaterial of the actual method an app chooses to integrate with Cortana, she will always preserve and provide all context she has about the specific task at hand. For example, let’s say you use Viber to send messages to your friend Sam. When you say “Hey Cortana, Tell Sam Hood I’m running late using Viber”, Cortana will understand that you intend to send a message to Sam Hood and also you’d like to use Viber to complete the task and provide Viber all the context. Viber could then choose to handle this specific task by interacting with you through Cortana’s user interface. Here’s a picture of this in action:

Viber completing a task in the Cortana user interface.
Viber completing a task in the Cortana user interface.

For a different task completion scenario, Viber might request Cortana to launch the app. Here’s a picture of this scenario in action. Notice that Cortana launched Viber and also provided the contact you wanted to chat with and Viber was able to get you right into a chat session with the contact you’d requested.


Today, we also announced that we’re working with Uber, the global technology platform that connects riders and drivers, to create the type of end to end experience that will be an integral part of Cortana in the future.

By integrating with Uber, Cortana will not only recommend an Uber for you at the exact time you need it based on your schedule, but will also order it for you. For example let’s say you’ve purchased a movie ticket online and received an email confirmation. Cortana has this information and will display a reminder to you prior to the movie start time.


Along with that reminder, Cortana will also give you the option to get a ride with Uber.


If you choose Uber, Cortana will automatically fill in the pick-up and drop-off details and request you a ride. You have the option of editing the pick-up and drop-off location.


Finally, track the location of your Uber, all from within Cortana.


In addition to Uber, we will also partner with Shopular to bring coupons to Cortana. With Shopular and Cortana, you get instant access to relevant money-saving coupons from stores you love, whether you’re shopping at a store or online.

For instance, if you’re shopping at the mall, simply open up Cortana and get coupons for the stores located in that mall.

Shopular Mobile (2)

While browsing online, Cortana on Microsoft Edge will notify you of any available coupons for retail site where you are shopping.

spartan with cortana pane

Both of these experiences will be available to consumers around the time of Windows 10 availability, and we will partner to develop more of these experiences for consumers in the future.

Developers can join the Windows Insider Program today, download the latest build of the Windows 10 Insider Preview (Build 10074), and get started building Universal Windows apps that integrate with Cortana using the Voice Command Definition extensibility API. Click here to get started!