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Windows 8.1's universal Bing Smart Search features are incorporated into Cortana, which replaces the previous Bing Search app which was activated when a user presses the "Search" button on their device.

Since the Lumia Denim mobile phone series, launched in October 2014, active listening was added to Cortana, enabling it to be invoked with the phrase: "Hey Cortana"; it can then be controlled as usual.

Cortana can integrate with third-party apps on Windows 10 or directly through the service.

Starting in late 2016, Cortana integrated with Microsoft's Wunderlist service, allowing Cortana to add and act on reminders. It can be disabled; this will cause Windows search to search the Web as well as the local computer, but this can be turned off.

A writer from Engadget has criticised the Cortana integration in Skype for only responding to very specific keywords, feeling as if she was "chatting with a search engine" due to the impersonal way the bots replied to certain words such as "Hello" the Bing Music bot brought up Adele's song of that name.

Cortana on Windows mobile and Android is capable of capturing device notifications and sending them to a Windows 10 device.

This allows a computer user to view notifications from their phone in the Windows 10 Action Center.

Cortana would then check people's availability in Outlook Calendar or Google Calendar, and work with others Cc'd on the email to schedule the meeting.

The service relied on automation and human-based computation.

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