Microsoft has released one of the biggest updates to Windows 11, version 22H2, which includes access to its AI-powered digital assistant, Copilot and a flurry of new AI upgrades to classic apps like Paint, Snipping Tool and Photos.
The company announced the update, along with upgrades to Bing, Edge, and Microsoft 365, as well as two new Surface laptops, last week at its annual Surface-centric event.
Copilot offers the same Bing Chat experience, appearing on the taskbar or with the Win+C keyboard shortcut and allowing users to control settings, launch apps or ask questions. Copilot is also woven through Microsoft 365, Bing and Edge.
Microsoft chief executive officer Satya Nadella explained how a user can, for instance, create a PowerPoint presentation using conversations they previously had in Teams, messages in Outlook, their saved files and more.
He added, “The context and intelligence of the web, your work data, and what you’re doing in the moment on your device are presented together in a single unified experience centered around you informed by your preferences and permissions.”
The more context and memory Copilot has, the more capabilities it can execute, the company explained.
Copilot might see a bit more success than its defunct predecessor, Cortana, given it’s powered by the same technologies behind Bing Chat, but the risk that the answers might not be accurate still exists.
With the new update, Microsoft is also infusing AI across multiple Windows 11 apps.
Paint, for instance, will have background removal and layers, as well as a preview of Cocreator, which brings generative AI to the app. Snipping Tool will now allow users to extract specific text content from an image to paste in another application, or easily protect your sensitive information with text redaction and more. Photos, Notepad, and Clipchamp are also getting new AI upgrades.
Other features of the Windows 11 update include:
- New Outlook for Windows (replacing the Mail and Calendar apps) connects various email accounts, including Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud and more in one app.
- New File Explorer home, address bar, and search box, designed to allow users to access relevant content , stay up to date with file activity and more
- New text authoring experiences to voice access and new natural voices in Narrator to improve accessibility
- Windows Backup to make transitioning files, apps and settings from one PC to a new Windows 11 PC easier.
- Windows 365 Switch and Windows 365 Boot will be generally available, making it easier for a user to access their Windows Cloud PC.
Bing and Edge
Also rolling out soon are AI upgrades to Bing and Edge, including more personalized answers based on a user’s chat history (setting can be turned off), help with online shopping via Copilot in Microsoft Shopping, and integration of OpenAI’s DALL-E into Bing Image Creator.
Additionally, Microsoft is adding Content Credentials, which uses cryptographic methods to add an invisible digital watermark to all AI-generated images in Bing – including the time and date the image was originally created.
Bing Chat Enterprise, introduced two months ago, is now available in the Microsoft Edge mobile app, the company announced. Plus, Microsoft is bringing support for multimodal visual search and Image Creator to Bing Chat Enterprise.
Microsoft announced that Microsoft 365 Copilot, initially unveiled in March, will be generally available to enterprise customers on Nov. 1.
It also introduced Microsoft 365 Chat, designed to work as yet another assistant, combing through emails, meetings, chats, documents and more, as well as the web to perform complex tasks, like writing documents, booking trips and catching up on emails.
Copilot in Outlook, Word, Excel, Loop, OneNote and OneDrive are also getting new capabilities to empower users.
Moreover, Microsoft announced a new Microsoft 365 consumer app, Designer, which helps users create visuals, social media posts, invitations and more. Most of its features will be powered by AI image generator, DALL-E.
Designer will be integrated into Microsoft 365 Copilot for consumers — starting with Word.