Bill Gates promised to "substantially increase" his time at Microsoft last year, but his involvement at the company he founded in 1975 has been a mystery ever since. When he’s not busy guest-editing The Verge, Gates revealed in a Reddit AMA today that he is currently working on a "Personal Agent" project at the software giant. "One project I am working on with Microsoft is the Personal Agent which will remember everything and help you go back and find things and help you pick what things to pay attention to," says Gates. "The idea that you have to find applications and pick them and they each are trying to tell you what is new is just not the efficient model — the agent will help solve this."
It sounds a lot like Cortana
It sounds a lot like something Cortana could potentially handle, Microsoft’s digital assistant that works on Windows Phone and is coming to Windows 10 later this year. Microsoft is constantly improving Cortana, and the company regularly updates the assistant with new functionality monthly. Gates’ mention of a cross-platform approach to the mysterious Personal Agent suggests this particular service will be available on devices that run Windows, iOS, and Android. It’s also possible that this Personal Agent could be linked to Microsoft’s Office software. Gates is a big fan of Office, and he is trying to make it "dramatically better" at Microsoft.
Gates also revealed that he thinks HoloLens is "pretty amazing" and that Microsoft has "put a lot into the chips and the software." Microsoft is planning to release its HoloLens software and headset at the same time the company launches Windows 10 later this year. "It will take a few years of software applications being built to realize the full promise of this," admits Gates. We’re expecting to hear a lot more about Microsoft’s plans for HoloLens apps at its Build developer conference in April.