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Cortana can now do price comparisons when you’re shopping online

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Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana will now be able to save you money when you’re shopping online. The company announced today that it will begin a pilot test of a new Cortana feature that will pop up the best price and availability of similar products, when you’re shopping the websites of over a dozen top retailers in the U.S., including Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Best Buy, Home Depot, and others.

The savings feature will only work when you’re shopping online using Microsoft’s Edge web browser, and have the Windows 10 Creators Update installed.

Above: Cortana finds better prices

The way this works is that when you’re viewing a product detail page on one of the supported retailers’ websites, Cortana will alert you if there are better deals to be had via the browser’s address bar. This is similar to other discount-finding functionality Microsoft introduced in the past, including the ability to check if there are coupons or other savings available on the site you’re shopping. In those cases, a click on Cortana would pull up the latest deals in a sidebar on the right of the page, and provide the coupon code to use, if needed.

With the new shopping assistant functionality, the focus is not on deals but rather, price comparisons. Cortana will search across supported retailers’ pages to find if that same product is available for less elsewhere. And it will only alert you if there is, in fact, a lower price to be had.

To see the deals, you’ll click the Cortana icon in the address bar, as before. And again, the deals will appear in a pane on the right side of your window, with links to buy the product from the other website.

Of course, lower prices alone may not determine your decision of where to purchase. You may feel more comfortable with one retailer’s return policies over another, for example, or there may be better shipping deals to be had. And it doesn’t appear that Cortana takes other factors beyond the list price into consideration here, but it’s still a handy addition.

Microsoft says there are 14 retailers supported in the U.S. at launch. It didn’t provide the full list, but the screenshot shows Best Buy and Home Depot are in the running. The company says the number of supported retailers will increase in the months ahead.

The feature is just now starting to roll this out to everyone on Windows 10 Creators Update, in order for Microsoft to get user feedback.

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