Microsoft had announced during Build 2016 that Cortana will be supporting proactive actions in upcoming Windows 10 Anniversary update. Proactive Actions means that Cortana can now help users by giving them proactive suggestions about the actions any app or website can perform when the user is most likely to need them on the basis of cortana insights. This way developers can drive higher engagement with users using their apps. Cortana will now be offereings features like proactive actions, notification mirroring etc. that are not offered by Siri and Google Now.


Cortana is evolving to doing things for users when her insights about users help her to anticipate that they need help. Cortana’s insights are situations or conditions based on her understanding of the user’s context or intent. Because Cortana accompanies users across their Windows 10 and Android devices, she knows where they are and what their schedules look like, and uses this knowledge to formulate her insights about users and when to reach out to the experts.

Developers are the experts and build actions, which help a user to do things via your app, website, or in the future, your bot. By registering proactive actions, you can teach Cortana when best to suggest your actions to the user.

Here’s an example provided by Microsoft to explain this new feature:

You are in the food delivery business and an expert in getting food delivered when people decide to order it. Now you can teach Cortana when people are most likely to order food or may end up hungry. You create a proactive action mapping “ordering food” to an insight like “meeting over lunch hours” or “working late.” As a result, when Cortana notices that a meeting has been scheduled over lunch hours for one of your users, she suggests to the user that he or should order food. Because Cortana knows the user’s meeting location and food preferences, she helps you provide a personalized experience right away, for example, by showing the cuisines that the user likes and then taking care of filling out the details, such as when and where the food should be delivered.

What do you need to do become an expert?

  1. Request an invitation to the developer preview.
  1. Register your actions with Cortana in the developer portal. Specify your own action or select one of the predefined actions.
  1. Map your action to one or more insights. Look at the listed insights and ask yourself if you can provide value to the user when that occurs. Choose the appropriate insights.
  1. Identify the contextual information you want to request from Cortana.With the user’s consent, Cortana can share information in the user’s Notebook, calendar, and location.
  1. Specify the deep link. Provide the URI of your existing deep-linked Windows 10 app, Android app, and website that Cortana should invoke.