After Bard Extensions, the Microsoft Copilot AI companion unveiled
- The Microsoft Copilot is the tech company’s vision of an “everyday” AI companion
- Microsoft 365 Copilot will be generally available to commercial enterprise customers
- The new Windows 11 Update will be available starting September 26.
Microsoft can’t seem to let Google have a break. Barely days after Google announced Bard Extensions to help improve the entire artificial intelligence (AI) experience, Microsoft unveiled Copilot, its version of an AI companion for its customers worldwide.
To be fair, Microsoft actually unveiled Copilot earlier this year. Integrated into Microsoft 365 apps, the initial Copilot was an AI assistant that helped users get the most out of generative AI. Microsoft 365 Copilot combined the power of large language models (LLM) with data in the Microsoft Graph and Microsoft 365 apps.
Now, Microsoft Copilot is taking a step forward in becoming an AI companion by enabling many more features and improving the user experience.
“Copilot is one experience that runs across multiple surfaces, understands the context, and brings the right skills to you when needed. It adapts to you. You no longer have to be the orchestrator of your apps, operating systems, and devices. We are building Copilot into our most used products and experiences, allowing you to summon its power as a standalone app. From Bing and Edge to Microsoft 365 in the newest version of Windows, we will show you how Copilot can make your life better,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft chairman and CEO, in his keynote address at the launch event.
According to Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president and consumer chief marketing officer at Microsoft, Copilot will uniquely incorporate the context and intelligence of the web. This includes work data and what users are doing on their PCs to provide better assistance – with privacy and security at the forefront.
“It will be a simple and seamless experience, available in Windows 11, Microsoft 365, and our web browser with Edge and Bing. It will work as an app or reveal itself when you need it with a right click. We will continue to add capabilities and connections to Copilot across to our most-used applications over time in service of our vision to have one experience that works across your whole life,” said Mehdi.
Copilot is expected to roll out as part of Microsoft’s free update to Windows 11 and across Bing, Edge, and Microsoft 365 Copilot.
Excited about today's @Microsoft Copilot announcement! We're unifying #AI experiences across our products. Also announced—new features in @Bing to help with creative, work, and everyday tasks, including support for the latest DALL.E 3 model from OpenAI. https://t.co/A7aaNRF6RJ pic.twitter.com/gAjZauK06O
— Jordi Ribas (@JordiRib1) September 21, 2023
What does Microsoft Copilot do with AI?
The new updates come at an exciting time as businesses continue to make big decisions on how much tech they should invest in. Generative AI solutions remain a key driver in most business tech investments. However, concerns about privacy and authority of the data generated remain a constant worry for businesses.
Microsoft is making AI part of all its offerings. Microsoft Copilot, for example, will be available through Windows 11 updates, which means everyone will eventually be using the AI companion.
But here’s what it does. For Bing and Edge, new features will include personalized answers generated based on chat history, an improved DALL.E 3 model from OpenAI in Bing Image Creator, and new Content Credentials that use cryptographic methods to add an invisible digital watermark to all AI-generated images in Bing, including the time and date it was initially created.
Digital watermarking is becoming the go-to method for identifying AI-generated content. Google and other tech companies have also announced similar digital watermarking capabilities. The move is expected to enable better copyright protection, especially for AI-generated images.
Realizing the need to differentiate between public and enterprise use, Microsoft 365 Copilot for Enterprise will generally be available for enterprise customers along with Microsoft 365 Chat, a new AI assistant that will completely transform your work. OpenAI also launched an enterprise version of ChatGPT weeks ago.
Windows 11 updates
Here’s a look at some of the new updates with Windows 11.
The first is Copilot in Windows, which will empower users to create faster, easily complete tasks and lessen the cognitive load. With Win+C keyboard shortcut, users can make once-complicated tasks simple.
Microsoft has also enhanced Paint and Photos with AI to give users access to better features and improve their editing skills. For example, in Photos, users can use Background Blur to easily make their subject stand out.
Clipchamp takes over the video editor app on Windows and has proven to be a rather exciting tool with AI now integrated into it. Tech Wire Asia recently tried editing several clips on Clipchamp and found the suggestions made by the AI surpringly useful.
Apart from these, there are also updates to the Snipping Tool, Notepad, and Backup. Each now provides a better user experience and is also easier to use.
“We believe that Microsoft is where powerful, useful AI experiences come together – simply, securely, and responsibly – into the products you use most. Today, we showed you how we are increasing the usefulness of these experiences and expanding them,” added Mehdi.
New features for competition
The new Microsoft Copilot AI companion features take Microsoft a step higher in using AI and create a whole new level of competition. During the event, Microsoft demonstrated how its new Surface Pros are more powerful than Apple’s Macbooks, especially in rendering videos.
The new features in Windows 11 for Photos, Paint, and Clipchamp also mean users may not need additional third-party editing software for their work. Depending on how and what content is generated, the updates to these apps are sufficient to produce results almost as good as those edited with third-party applications with generative AI features.
But the most significant competition would probably be in Microsoft’s Bing and Edge. Google remains the top search engine and browser. While Microsoft has caused a dent in Google’s numbers, it is still far from makinge Google tremble. However, the new features in Bing Chat Enterprise, especially in support of multimodal visual search and Image Creator in Bing Chat Enterprise, could end up giving Google a sleepless night or two.
Also, with DALL.E 3 just announced by OpenAI, it only makes sense for Microsoft to integrate it into Microsoft Designer, another app that can take on most competitor image generators, especially when integrating into Bing.
As such, the Microsoft Copilot and new generative AI updates and features will see the tech giant significantly up its game in the industry.
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