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Microsoft unveils new AI tools for Windows 11

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Microsoft will add a range of artificial intelligence (AI) features to Windows 11, with new ways to edit content and control PC settings.

Later this month, Windows 11 users will be able adjust settings within the operating system with text commands via the Copilot AI assistant. Here, users can type “enable battery saver” or “show Wi-Fi network” and the Windows Copilot will perform the action. Other skills include “display IP address,” “launch voice input,” and “show system information.”

There are also new ways to edit content in two Windows apps: Photos and Clipchamp. For video-editing tool Clipchamp, gaps in conversation can be removed with a “silence removal” feature. In Photos, the generative erase feature lets users select and remove “unwanted objects or imperfections” from an image.

The features, available now, build on other generative AI capabilities that have come to Windows 11 in the past year, such as the Paint Cocreator text-to-image tool and auto-compose in Clipchamp.

Microsoft will also make plugins available for Copilot in Windows during the next month. These provide access to third-party apps, including Instacart, OpenTable and Kayak, with users able to take actions, such as make a reservation, using Windows Copilot. There are already a range of plugins available for the Copilot in Microsoft 365 — with integrations to productivity apps such as Asana, Box, Jira and others — but these are the first for Windows.

The deeper integration of Copilot and other AI capabilities into Windows is a key part of Microsoft’s strategy for the operating system. And the features announced this week are likely just part of a longer-range effort to bring AI functionality to Windows 11, with a new breed of “AI PCs” on the horizon that enable AI processing on-device. 

As Microsoft makes initial moves to integrate AI capabilities into Windows, the focus is ensuring that features work well, are practical and easily accessible by a broad range of Windows users, according to Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

“This is just the beginning of what we’re going to see,” Atwal said. “As businesses become more [familiar] with what it does, [Microsoft will] start bringing more to the table.”

Copyright © 2024 IDG Communications, Inc.

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