Cortana Just Blew Me Away
Ok, so coming from using google now for over a year, using Cortana was great but wasn't an extremely new experience. I was aware of the package tracking through email, the live traffic updates during my commute, and the presentation of news/score information for the things I care about. All things google now does, so I was used to this. For the first time however, I was truly shocked by Cortana. I'll give the story below.
So a friend of mine sent me a text about an upcoming quiz, asking me if it was coming up tomorrow. We are in the same class, so we constantly communicate about the class. I told her no, that it was a week from Tuesday. I then saw dotted lines under "a week from Tuesday". I was intrigued, because this was new, I've never seen this in WP8, this is new in WP 8.1. So I clicked the text that was underlined, not expecting anything to happen. But it took me to cortana. I was shocked. Absolutely blown away. I saw that she wanted to create an event for me. Then I thought, there's absolutely no way she'll get the correct day. It seems to casual for her to pick up. I then saw the date that she entered, April 22nd. I said no way, NO WAY! Checked my calendar, and yes, it is indeed the date that was "a week from Tuesday". I then saw that she entered all of the necessary information. I simply titled the event as "Exam" and hit create. WOW!
Then I reflected on what Cortana just did. The fact that the was able to pick out times through my casual text message, and formulate an event entry, is amazing. The fact that she correctly determined the date for "a week from Tuesday" was unexpected and awesome. But what I love most about this was the fact that I had absolutely no prior intention of making an event for the date. I usually (try) to make reminders for myself to make sure I am prepared for exams. But in this scenario, Cortana beat me to the punch. She anticipated the fact that I might want to make a reminder/ event for that time period, and she did all the work in terms of entering the information. I sat at the cortana event creation screen thinking "why not, I definitely should have made one already to prepare myself anyway". That's what I call an amazing assistant. Upon looking into this further, apparently this same functionality is present within email communication as well. WOW.
Cortana isn't perfect, more specifically in terms of recognition, which I've realized she learns from (was able to pick up a query she simply was not able to pick up prior. Possibly learning the way I talk). She's still within the beta stages. But she's definitely giving me a unique experience. And that's really exciting.