Two weeks ago, Microsoft debuted its Cortana personal digital assistant for Windows Phone 8.1, which uses the Bing platform to learn about your preferences and interests. Starting today, the Bing home page will also get some of Cortana’s smarts. You can now find a set of personalized cards that help you keep track of news, weather, flights and stocks.
To get access to this information, users have to sign in to Bing. Just like Cortana, it will learn from your daily habits, based on data it gathers from Bing.com, the Bing apps for Windows or a Windows Phone. Microsoft isn’t ready to say when (or if) this feature will come to other platforms, too, but it seems like a logical next step.
Currently, it won’t be able to sync data or push notifications to the Bing apps on other platforms, but Microsoft says this functionality is coming soon.
Using the web interface, you turn the different notifications on and off, but as far as I can see, you can’t currently register interest in certain topics manually. For now, these cards also only appear on the homepage. They don’t seem to have any influence on Bing’s search results pages and don’t appear in the Bing apps yet, but they will as Cortana rolls out.
While the set of cards on the homepage is still limited to just a few topics right now, Microsoft says it will expand this feature with new cards soon.
It remains to be seen whether this new feature will get more people to use Bing, but it does show how flexible Microsoft’s framework for these kinds of personalized experiences is. It’s probably just a matter of time before we see this kind of experience across all of Microsoft’s platforms, including Windows on the desktop and maybe even the Xbox in your living room.