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What’s the deal with if Cortana is or isn’t tracking packages from your email? (Updated with Microsoft response)

Recently a number of users on Reddit have been noticing that package tracking via Cortana has stopped working, or at least for some users. Some report that it continues to work, some say it has stopped and then started again, and some are even getting an unsettling message in the Cortana Notebook:

Sorry Cortana will no longer be able to track packages from your email.

Rod Trent on Twitter received the notice, and got some of the same responses. For some, it still works, but more as a Calendar event than “in Cortana.” And Florian B seems to be coming close to an explanation for what’s going on:

Whether there has been a change that caused some users to lose, then regain, their package tracking, or what’s up with the notice that Cortana no longer reports package tracking if packages are indeed being tracked and reported, are adding to the confusion. We’re asking Microsoft for clarification, in the meantime, are you noticing changes to how Microsoft/Cortana reports package tracking? Are you seeing the “no longer able to track packages” notice? Have you even noticed?

Update: A Microsoft spokesperson has responded to us with this explanation:

As with all our tools and services, we are constantly evaluating and finessing the Cortana experience to offer users the most valuable features and capabilities. For package tracking ease, Outlook will continue to manage your package tracking emails, and create events in your calendar with details. More info on how Outlook tracks packages can be found here and the providers that are supported can be found here.

So it sounds like the redundancies between package tracking in Outlook (and Outlook.com, and Outlook on the web, and the mobile versions on iOS and Android etc.) and Cortana are being eliminated, possibly because they are, well, redundant. While we keep being promised more from Cortana, we keep getting less and less.

Further reading: ,

Is package tracking working for you?