Microsoft’s Windows 11 update puts AI front and center


Microsoft will launch an update to Windows 11 on Tuesday that will put its new AI-powered Bing capabilities front and center on its taskbar, one of the most used features in the operating system, in the latest sign that the company is doubling down on the buzzy technology. despite some recent controversy.

With the update, the AI ​​tool will be accessible from the Windows search box, allowing users to directly access files, settings and perform web queries. The taskbar has more than half a billion users each month, according to the company, making it prime real estate to eventually expose more users to the new feature. (A preview version of the AI ​​tool is still available on a limited basis.)

Earlier this month, Microsoft said it was looking into ways to restore Bing’s AI chat bot after users pointed out answers that were both inaccurate and emotionally reactive. Despite those early events, the company told CNN that “overall, we’re feeling really good about the product experience for people” and they continue to learn from the feedback.

“AI is reinventing itself right now … and it’s just the beginning,” Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer, told CNN ahead of Tuesday’s launch. He compared the AI ​​changes coming to the computer to how the keyboard and mouse changed the way we interact with computers.

However, users will only have access to Bing’s new preview of its additional AI capabilities out of the gate. The company said it will slowly roll out the functionality to people who signed up for the Windows Insider Program. “We want to grow it thoughtfully and responsibly,” Panay said.

Last year, Microsoft unveiled several AI-powered Windows 11 features, such as canceling out background noise like lawnmowers and crying babies on video calls and automatic framing so the camera follows the speaker’s movements. It also automated some of its accessibility tools, such as live video captions.

His efforts around AI have only grown. Earlier this year, Microsoft confirmed that it is making a “multibillion dollar” investment in OpenAI, the company behind the viral AI chatbot tool ChatGPT. Microsoft launched its AI chatbot tool in early February; A million people have since tried it in 169 countries, according to Microsoft. The company has since expanded it to the Bing and Edge browser mobile apps and Skype.

But adding it to the Windows search bar is a big vote of confidence from the company and reflects its larger effort to “comprehensively go into AI,” according to Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at Moore Insights and Strategy.

Check out the new Bing on Windows 11

Bing integration is just one of several significant updates coming to Windows 11. Microsoft is also taking steps to improve the Windows experience for Apple and Samsung users.

Apple users will now be able to receive iOS alerts and messages directly on their Windows 11 devices, potentially using Apple’s closed ecosystem. (Android users have been able to receive messages on Windows devices since 2018.) The new iOS support, however, does not work for replying to group iMessages or sending media such as photos and videos in messages.

Microsoft said its move to bring iOS messaging to PCs wasn’t made directly in partnership with Apple; instead it is done via Bluetooth technology. Moorhead said Apple was “reluctant to open up its iMessage APIs to vendors like Microsoft, which could improve the Windows experience.”

“This is what customers want and need, so we went and designed it to make sure it was there for our users on the Microsoft side,” Panay said. “I know our customers need their iPhones to work on their computer, and I (want to) do everything I can to help them do that.”

For users of Samsung devices, Microsoft is making it easier to activate their phone’s personal hotspot with a single click within the Wi-Fi network list on their computer. A Recent Websites feature is also being added that allows users to transfer their browser sessions from their smartphone to their Windows PC.

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