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See Microsoft's Cortana-driven Work Assistant do someone's bidding

A new video purports to show the product, now being privately tested, in action. Destined for Windows 10, Work Assistant will enable you to give commands to your Office apps.

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Microsoft's Work Assistant will use Cortana to work with your Office documents via voice. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

A new video that has popped online appears to show off Microsoft's voice-powered Office Work Assistant.

Currently being tested internally as a beta product at Microsoft, the Work Assistant would handle Office-related tasks on devices running the company's mobile OS for smartphones. That includes Windows Phone 8.1 as well as Windows 10. Using voice assistant Cortana, you could tell your phone to open, edit, email or perform a range of other commands on your Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.

The goal behind Windows 10 is to provide a more unified environment for PCs, tablets and phones as a way to drive customer interest in the new OS and its devices. One of the many linchpins will be Microsoft's Cortana. Right now Cortana is available just on Windows Phone, but it will be a fixture on Windows 10 PCs and tablets as well.

The Work Assistant will also integrate with Office across mobile and desktop devices, sources told The Verge last week. Microsoft's chief experience officer, Julie Larson-Green, hinted in November that Cortana could launch on other platforms, according to Business Insider. That means the Work Assistant might make its way to Office for iOS on Apple devices or to the Android mobile operating system, respectively giving Siri and Google Now some competition.

Posted on YouTube on Sunday by a Spanish-language tech site called Microsoft Place (no relation to Microsoft itself), a new video shows the Work Assistant being put through its paces. The person demonstrating it is able to launch the Work Assistant, search for specific documents by name and, finally, send a specific document by email.

A Microsoft spokesperson said the company had nothing to share.

At its Windows 10 launch event last month, Microsoft showed how someone could tap into the Work Assistant to ask Cortana to open PowerPoint slides just by voicing the specific slides needed. Screenshots posted last week by WindowsblogItalia showed images of the Work Assistant integrating with Office.

The Work Assistant app is being developed by Microsoft's Digital Life + Work group, according to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley. Larson-Green is in charge of the effort, while Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is also involved, according to Foley's source.

(Via Windows Central)

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