Microsoft's personal assistant Cortana was designed to make Windows Phone smarter and more helpful, but its features won't be limited to smartphones. Today the company announced that Bing now offers some of the same features that make Windows Phone 8.1 feel more "personal." New cards that appear on Bing's homepage will track news headlines, local weather, flight status, and stock performance based on your preferences. And that's just the start; Microsoft says there's "more to come" in the company's continued effort to "help you keep track of things that matter to you."
Bing is the underlying technology behind Cortana brains, so it's no surprise to see Microsoft taking advantage of all that it's learned — "through years of machine learning and big data experience doing web search" — to spread that personalization across its services. Once users select their interests, they'll receive relevant notifications "on most modern Windows devices" and across several Bing-powered applications such as Cortana and the Bing Sports app.
This convenience is a major benefit that comes alongside the new and improved Windows Phone 8.1, but for all users that don't own a smartphone running Microsoft's OS, Bing's cards should provide a good taste of what they're missing on mobile. With Google already offering similar cross-platform support with Google Now, it's good to see Microsoft ready with its own counter.