Microsoft continues its audacious embrace of generative AI, giving Windows 11 a free Bing AI update
- Microsoft said it is implementing a typable Windows search box with capabilities of the new AI-powered Bing directly into the taskbar.
- Microsoft’s new Windows 11 software release includes the technology to link Apple devices to Windows.
It has been over a month since Microsoft took the plunge and announced a multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment in OpenAI, the developer behind AI-driven ChatGPT. Since then, the software giant has made bold moves and embraced generative AI tech at a rate unlike any other.
In the first three weeks alone, Microsoft had not only launched the new AI-powered Bing into preview but also expanded the new search engine to the Bing and Edge mobile apps and introduced it into Skype.
In short – Microsoft is not slowing down its foray into the generative AI space. This week, its race to integrate Bing into its products took a giant leap forward as Microsoft announced a “big update” on its Windows 11 software. The new features will add its latest Bing AI to the bottom menu bar of computers with Windows 11, the software launched over a year ago.
“Today, we take the next major step forward, adding to the incredible breadth and ease of use of the Windows PC by implementing a typable Windows search box and the amazing capability of the new AI-powered Bing directly into the taskbar, putting all your search needs for Windows in one easy-to-find location,” Microsoft said in a blog post.
The idea is to make the new Bing AI more easily accessible, expanding its reach further. Microsoft said that people who have already received access to test the new Bing AI would be able to begin using it in Windows after updating their computers. Those without access to Bing AI must still sign up to join the waitlist.
For context, the new Bing is running on a new, next-generation OpenAI large language model customized specifically for search and is more powerful than ChatGPT. It takes key learnings and advancements from ChatGPT and GPT-3.5 – and it is even faster, more accurate and more capable.
Since the search box is one of Windows’s most widely used features, with over half a billion users every month, the latest upgrade would mean more people would have the access to the latest Bing. “Now, with the typable Windows search box and the new AI-powered Bing front and center to this experience, you will be empowered to find the answers you’re looking for faster than ever before,” the company said.
To give an idea of how it works, a Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC in an email, “After entering a query into the search portion of the taskbar at the bottom of the screen, a user will see search results and a new chat button. Clicking that button will open an Edge browser window and prompt the Bing chatbot to respond to the person’s query.”
CNBC also shared how the new Bing option is only becoming a regular fixture of Windows 11, which Microsoft released in 2021. “Support for Windows 10 ends in 2025, and many people have not upgraded yet. In January, about 69% of Windows PCs were still running Windows 10, and 18% were on Windows 11, according to estimates from StatCounter,” CNBC added.
The latest Windows 11 software also includes technology to link Apple devices to Windows, allowing iPhones to share text messages, phone calls, and app notifications with Windows PCs. Microsoft said it’s making that feature available to a “small percentage” of testers and will expand over time.
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