Cortana as a personal digital assistant is great at keeping you on track with your commitments or reminding you about your mom’s birthday. These capabilities are surfaced very naturally because of Cortana can understand user’s intent. To invoke third-party skills on Cortana, users had to say a special phrase, called an invocation phrase, like “Open Domino’s”, or “Ask Darksky for the weather next weekend”. This is not a good user experience for an assistant because users often forget how to invoke a skill. We are happy to announce that users can invoke third-party skills on Cortana in a very natural way.
“Breaking barriers… Pushing boundaries”
Cortana can now intelligently suggest 3rd party skills when a user asks her for something. By leveraging the power of Bing Search and our years of investment in AI, relevance, and ranking, we have brought a more natural experience to Cortana users. Now users can naturally discover a wide range of 3rd party Cortana skills and accomplish those tasks with Cortana’s help.
So, if you want to find some brunch recipes or ask Cortana to help you find live music events, just say “Hey Cortana, can you help me find some brunch recipes” or “Hey Cortana, find live music events” and Cortana will recommend relevant 3rd party skills that can help you with the task at hand.
The experience is currently available for voice queries on Cortana for Windows and will very soon light up on other Cortana endpoints like our mobile app, the Harmon Kardon Invoke Speaker, and so on.
“What’s in the Box for Developers?”
For developers, it is a great opportunity to have your skills get discovered by more users who are trying to complete a task. Here are some things that you can do to improve discoverability of your skills:
- Make sure your skill title and descriptions are indicative of your skill’s functionality.
- In the skill publication process, we ask for metadata about your skill. Make sure you provide information which is comprehensive and accurate.
- Work to ensure your skill is of high quality. Our ranker will consider skill quality and usage patterns when recommending skills to users.