Microsoft is testing out a new feature for its Cortana AI assistant that could help to save users some money.
Basically, Cortana will tell users if items they’re shopping for are available at a lower price through a different retailer. It operates through the Microsoft Edge browser: When a user is looking up a particular item on an online merchant’s website, Cortana will deliver a little pop-up notification to the user’s address bar if it finds the same item at a lower price through a different retailer.
It’s a relatively minor feature, but it points to the growing importance of AI in the user experience. Similar functionality seems to be in the works through Apple’s Siri AI assistant, which will be able to spontaneously provide users with dynamically generated information relevant to their interest in the next big iOS upgrade – providing information about hotels when a user is reading up on a travel destination, for example.
For its part, Microsoft has been looking to make Cortana a more central user interface for its customers, and recently opened the platform up to third party developers through a new software development kit. This new shopping feature is a small step forward on that front, with Microsoft just starting to roll it out to beta users, and working with 14 retailers including Amazon, eBay, and Walmart to make it work.