Cortana’s usefulness is still debatable today even though Windows 10 has been out for two years now. People compare it to Siri which, as far as the desktop is concerned is still not as impressive as its iOS counterpart. Cortana is no doubt limited in functionality but it’s improving. For example, you can now use it to open apps. Most of its bad reputation stems from the fact that it forces users to use Bing and Edge. For the record, you can force Cortana to use your default browser with an app. What’s even better is that now, you can natively add Gmail, Google Contacts, and Google Calendar to Cortana.
By default, Cortana can read email from the default Mail app or from Outlook. It can read contacts from the People app and view meetings and appointments in Outlook. To add Gmail, Google Contacts, and Google Calendar to Cortana, you need to add them as a service. You must have Cortana enabled on your desktop and you must be running the latest version of Windows 10 i.e. the Fall Creators Update.
Add Service In Cortana
Open Cortana and click Notebook. On the Notebook panel, click ‘Connected Services’.
On the ‘Connected Services’ screen, click Add service.
Cortana only lists Gmail and not Google Contacts or Google Calendar but that’s the way to connect these two services. You don’t have the option to simply connect one service. Additionally, Google Drive is going to be connected as well.
Sign in to your Google account and allow Cortana to access the data it needs to. It takes a little time to connect but once it does, Gmail will appear in the Connected Services panel.
Privacy & Data Access
Pay close attention to what Cortana tells you it will access once you connect your Gmail account. It provides comprehensive detail on how your data will be used and how to revoke Cortana’s access to your data if you later decide to disconnect your Google account. Cortana intends to use it to provide tailored content which isn’t something that sits well with most people. Considering it has access to your email, you may not want the AI to mine your messages for your personal preferences. The good thing is, Cortana shows you the details of how your data will be used before your account is actually connected and it directs you to where you need to go to turn it off.
It seems Microsoft has learnt to be more upfront with users in terms of how it uses their data. The commands that you can execute with Cortana now that it’s connected to these Google services are still unclear. It will likely take a little bit more time for them to start working.