boy writing 'mom' on a wall

Cortana users apparently love the personal assistant's location-based reminders. So Microsoft took this feedback and ran with it, making Cortana "more proactive" with its reminders, according to a blog post by Cortana's Group Program Manager Marcus Ash announcing this new feature as well as some others.

The most interesting is the one Ash referenced above. As he wrote: 

People often make promises to do things in email but may forget about them as the days go by and emails pile up. Microsoft Research (MSR) was pursuing an intriguing and powerful idea around this challenge—automatically recognizing when people make commitments to one another in email messages and providing reminders.  We collaborated very closely with MSR to bring this new ability to Cortana to help people better keep track of their commitments.

So when you promise someone in an email that you will get back to him later that day, there will be that little voice of your mom Cortana reminding you to follow up.

Or send the pictures or the report that you said you would do.

It's not just your mom Cortana is now channeling, but also your faithful knows-you-like-a-lifelong-best-friend personal assistant. A personal assistant, that is, who knows how much you dislike late evening meetings and gives you a heads up that one is on your schedule and perhaps you should move it stat.

Of if a last minute meeting request comes in from your boss for the next morning, Cortana will alert you to re-arrange your morning routine.

Headed for Windows 10  

Microsoft is rolling out several new features for its personal assistant under its Windows Insider Program that will become generally available to all Windows 10 users, including the advanced reminders and scheduling capabilities.

That will be a lot of users given the 200 million devices on which the Windows 10 operating system is running now, a mere six months after its 2015 release, according to a blog post by Corporate Vice President of Windows and Devices Group Yusuf Mehdi at the start of this year. 

The company's goal is to have 1 billion devices running Windows 10 in 2018, with a sizeable number in the corporate world.

According to Mehdi, that is happening.

"As of today [Jan. 4] more than 76 percent of our enterprise customers are in active pilots of Windows 10, and we now have over 22 million devices running Windows 10 across enterprise and education customers."

And Cortana, so the theory goes, will be one of the features that will make Windows 10 stickier than ever.

Or will it?

'The Thing Is Becoming A Nag'

These new features in Cortana could prove to be a double-edged sword, Laura DiDio, principal analyst for Strategy Analytics told CMSWire.

"It's one thing to be more proactive but apparently this thing is going to turn into a nag."

DiDio is semi-joking about that, although she noted that it does not appear that the reminder feature can be turned off.

More than likely it will play well among business users, especially the Type A ones. "But what about if you just want to be Zen," she said.

Title image by Ryan McGuire