Microsoft is building an artificial intelligence assistant into Windows 11

Similar to the Copilot sidebars seen in Edge, Office apps, and even GitHub, Windows Copilot will be integrated directly into Windows 11 and open and usable in all apps and programs from the taskbar. Windows Copilot is built on the same foundation as Bing Chat.

The first Copilot was developed by Microsoft-owned GitHub to help developers with programming. GitHub Copilot is a popular feature despite concerns about handling copyrighted code, prompting the company to expand the concept of AI assistance for complex tasks to other products and services, including Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Microsoft Viva and Microsoft Security products. Now we can add Windows 11 to the list.

“Windows is the first PC platform to provide customers with centralized AI assistance. Once opened, the Windows Copilot sidebar remains consistent across apps, programs, and windows, and is always available to act as a personal assistant” – he explained Panos Panay, head of Microsoft Windows and devices at the company at the Build conference. “It turns every user into a power user, helping them work, customize settings, and seamlessly communicate between their favorite apps.” Windows Copilot can summarize, transcribe or even explain the content viewed in applications. It’s very similar to the dialog box in Bing Chat, so you can ask it general questions and things you’d normally expect from a search engine.

Microsoft’s demo video shows Copilot changing Windows settings, rearranging windows with Snap Layouts, summarizing and rewriting drag-and-drop documents, and opening apps like Spotify, Adobe Express, and Teams

It won’t directly replace the search bar on the Windows 11 taskbar, instead there will be a separate Copilot button next to it, similar to how Cortana got its own dedicated place on the taskbar in Windows 10. Because Copilot is integrated into Windows, we can do things like hand over settings management, which is much more than the simple Bing Chat link that Microsoft put on the taskbar earlier this year. Microsoft also allows developers to extend extensions written for Bing or OpenAI ChatGPT to this AI assistant. This opens up Windows Copilot to many of the new features that developers create for ChatGPT and Bing, and future developments will be automatically migrated to Windows Copilot.

Microsoft has already hinted at building AI features into Windows in the past six months, after Panay claimed in January that “AI will reinvent the way we use Windows.” Many expected Microsoft to wait until the next major version of Windows, but instead the company is overhauling Windows right now. Microsoft will begin public testing of Windows Copilot in June before rolling it out more widely to existing Windows 11 users. In addition, Copilots are being prepared for Power BI (visual data analysis), Power Pages (creating fast web pages) and a new analysis platform called Microsoft Fabric.

Microsoft did not discuss the privacy and security aspects of Windows Copilot – whether users can expect the content of their documents to remain private, what processing takes place locally on the device and on Microsoft’s servers, and whether chat history and contextual information whether they will be saved between sessions or even synchronized between computers. We’ll likely learn more about this as the feature gets closer to launch.

The Edge browser is also getting a makeover, including a new, redesigned user interface and a new personality called Microsoft Edge for Business. “Microsoft Edge for Business is designed to be a standard browser for organizations enabled with Azure Active Directory (AAD) sign-in,” said Lindsay Kubasik, group product manager, Edge Enterprise. It probably goes without saying that Microsoft 365 Copilot will be integrated into Edge. Edge for Business opens “work” websites in another browser window, with its own icon and the name of the organization. The idea is to separate work and personal browsing, so work browsing has its own cache, storage space and security settings.

But how will Edge know which page to open in which mode? “Popular websites will automatically open in your personal browser window,” Kubasic said. Users can “designate additional sites for work or personal use” in the settings. With personal pages, users can exclude data from corporate sync, which only works in work mode. This sounds chaotic; but Kubasic also noted that “the IT department will be conducting an audit of the security and compliance status of Microsoft Edge, whether it’s for work or personal use.” Edge can be managed with Group Policy and InTune, but they are cumbersome to use. Microsoft is introducing a new Edge management service that Kubasik says will have a “simplified, intuitive user interface.”

Old bikers may remember the heady days of the early 2000s, when the company, infected with enthusiasm for .NET, renamed everything it could think of to .NET. Today, it seems that the same thing is happening with the protagonists of MI and Copilot, they will be everywhere, despite the fact that their reliability is questionable, and from a copyright point of view it can be considered a minefield. But the company feels it has a head start with its $10 billion investment in OpenAI, and it wants to make the most of it.

It is refreshing that the issue of responsibility is not completely swept aside, at Build Microsoft presented a feature under development, Media Provenance, which will encrypt AI-generated content and sign it with metadata about its origin. This will be available for Microsoft Designer and Bing Image Creator in a few months. One can only hope that the aspects of responsible use are not buried under the abundance of claims about productivity improvements.

In one year, Windows 11 has evolved from “Windows 10, but prettier” to an operating system with built-in artificial intelligence functions. Back in Windows 7 and Windows 8, Microsoft took a lot longer to shift gears and respond to new developments. Whether that’s a good thing depends on perspective — millions of Windows 11 users will get generative AI help whether they want it or not — but it’s a completely different approach to Windows than Microsoft took a decade ago.

Source: Hírmagazin by

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