2 NEW A.I. Features Unleashed in Microsoft Teams and Edge


With the latest updates to Teams and the Edge browser, Microsoft has included two new AI-powered features that are designed to help you get work done faster and stay focused on what’s most important. This Week in IT, I look at how these new features work and how they are paving the way for more advanced AI features currently on the drawing board.

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With the latest updates to Teams and the Edge browser, Microsoft has included two new AI-powered features that are designed to help you get work done faster and stay focused on what’s most important. This Week in IT, I look at how these new features work and how they’re paving the way for more advanced AI features in Windows that are currently on the drawing board.

Welcome to the show where I talk about everything connected to Microsoft 365, Windows, and Azure. But before we get started today, I’ve got a quick favor to ask you. About 94% of the people who watched last week’s video weren’t subscribed to the channel. Now, as we go live today, we’re on about 5,000 subscribers, and I’d really love it if we could push that up this week to 5,200. So if you’d like to help us reach our goal, then please subscribe to the channel, and don’t forget to hit the bell notification to make sure you don’t miss out on the latest uploads.

I recently stumbled across an article on Petri.com called “Five Tips for Modern Task Management.” Now, it’s actually from 2017, so it’s quite interesting to see how things have advanced since then. But some things, of course, never really change, and in the intro to the article, Matthew was talking about a colleague who runs a small business, and he was just asking him, “How is it going?” And he answered something like, “I feel like I’ve got nothing to do.”

Now, of course, that wasn’t really the case, because all people running small businesses definitely have something to do. But the real problem was that this guy was just so overwhelmed with work, there was so much for him to do, that he just didn’t know where to start. So I get the idea that he was just doing nothing because of that feeling of overwhelm. And I’m sure we’re all very familiar with that.

And in his article, Matthew said that, “Well, if we can get control of what it is that we’re doing, then we can feel less overwhelmed, more calm in the moments where we don’t actually have something to do, and just feel happier and healthier in general.” And of course, a lot of that depends on how we use the tools that we have at our disposal at work, and what it is that they can do for us to help us get on top of all the stuff that we need to do.

So, okay, if the problem is being overwhelmed, we have all these tools like Microsoft 365, for instance, that is designed really to help us be more productive, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like that.(…) And part of the reason is that we do have tools to help us organize stuff, but actually doing the organizing actually also requires some energy and thought. And quite often we just skip that because we’ve got so many other things to do. So Microsoft is on a mission to help solve that problem with artificial intelligence.

There are various features in Windows, in Microsoft 365, in browsers like Edge, that are designed to help us stay organized like arranging Windows, organizing our chats into Teams channels, grouping our tabs in a browser window if you’ve got hundreds of tabs open, but again, that all requires us to actively think and organize what we’re doing. So how can artificial intelligence help us actually make better use of those tools?

In this week’s video, I’m going to look at two new AI powered features that have recently become available in the latest updates for Edge and for Microsoft Teams. So I’m sure you’re familiar with a situation where you’ve got a browser window open and you could have 50 tabs open at one time, maybe even more. And then it becomes really difficult to find any information that you had open, maybe 10 minutes ago, half an hour ago. It’s there somewhere, but it’s just like looking for a needle in a haystack essentially.(…)

Now both Chrome and Edge have a feature that allows you to create groups of tabs. So you can add tabs to a group, you can color code them, you can give each group a name, but of course you have to step through that manually. Once you’ve already got 50 tabs open, unless you’ve been very diligent from the very beginning about organizing those tabs as you open them and grouping them where it makes sense, then of course once you’ve already got 50 tabs, a hundred tabs open, yeah, that’s a task that just seems insurmountable.

So you can see I’ve got Edge open on the screen here at the moment. I don’t have a huge amount of tabs open, but nevertheless I want to organize them into tab groups. And there are a couple of ways that you can do this now. So I’m going to click on the vertical tabs here, you can see I’ve got them all open and I can manually organize them into tab groups if I want to.

So I would just right click on the tab here and I’ve got the option to add that to a new tab group if I want. I can name the group, color code it and do various things there. But there’s a new feature now in Edge that’s going to allow me to do that manually. So I’m just going to remove that tab from the group. So essentially getting rid of the group completely. If I click on the tab control button here, there’s now a new option called organize tabs.

And what this does is use artificial intelligence to organize the open tabs. So let’s click on that and you can see that it’s looking at all the tabs and it’s going to make the best guess it can at how those tabs should be organized. And let’s have a look at what it’s done. So I did some research for this video on the discover feeding teams. It’s organized those things together. It’s organized some general things on Microsoft 365 that I had open in Petri.

I had a random article open at Windows Central there about Windows apps on ARM. And you can see that I had free tabs here open about Linux and it’s organized those all together. It’s done a pretty good job. So I’m going to accept that.(…) You can also train it. Can I say, well, did you do a good job or not? Yep. So I’m going to say, yep, you did a great job with that.

Yep. And I’m going to say group tabs. And now if I open the tab window, you can see all those tabs are nicely organized. So if I need to go back and find something connected to Linux, then of course it’s going to help me do that quickly without having to search through all of the tabs. So that’s a really great new feature in Edge.

This AI tab grouping feature, of course it’s probably not going to be perfect, but the few times that I’ve used it since it became available, it’s available in Edge 124, which was literally released a couple of days ago. So obviously I haven’t had a much time to really see how it works, but the few times I’ve used it, it really does pretty good job of organizing those tabs. And I’ll be definitely using it when I’ve got a huge amount of tabs open. It can do a job that would probably take me quite a long time in literally seconds.

Teams has not been left out and it now has a new feed called Discover. Now this is different from the activity feed, which has been there for a very long time. The activity feed kind of shows you when you’ve been mentioned in a chat, things like that. So that’s a bit more of a comprehensive list of everything that happens within your Teams tenant. But the Discover feed is based on artificial intelligence and it’s designed to surface things that are most important to you across your Teams channels.

Because quite often we all belong to a whole load of different teams and it’s impossible to keep track and surface what’s really most important. So you can think of the Discover feed in Teams as a bit like a social media feed. So it uses an algorithm to surface what it thinks is likely to be most important for you. But it learns as you use it. So for instance, you can tell it whether you think the post that it’s surfaced is useful or not. And then it begins to use that feedback to improve the feed to surface what’s more relevant for you. Now the algorithm uses factors like who you interact with the most, which Teams are most active, and other measures to try and establish which posts are likely to be most relevant for you.

You can also get more control over the Discover feed by telling it not to show a particular post again or not to show posts from this channel or from this team. So the Discover feed is gonna be pretty useful for very large organizations where there’s a lot happening across a lot of different teams. Microsoft has a lot going on at the moment with AI. Of course, we’ve got Copilot for 365, all the different variations of Copilot, across many different apps and solutions. It’s got this new stuff happening in Teams as well, like the Discover feed, which is available for everybody. You don’t have to subscribe to Copilot and stuff that’s coming to Windows.(…)

And at the beginning of the video, I talked about how what we’re seeing today is kind of starting to pave the way for what we’re likely to see in the 24H2 update to Windows 11 that’s due this fall. Now Microsoft has talked about various things in the past. We’re not sure exactly which of these features are gonna come in that update, but I think it’s likely that we’re going to see some of them, like the ability to orchestrate Windows and applications in a way that makes sense to your workflow and processes in a way that we haven’t seen before.

Even the Windows Snap feature in Windows 11 has seen a minor update recently to help move forwards in that direction. Microsoft has even talked about things like optical character recognition that will help us search what we’ve got currently open across all of our Windows applications and to open applications, find information in a way that’s never really been available before.

So we’ll see how all of that works in the future, but this is really exciting and I think Microsoft is going to be able to empower us in a way that is something that is really a leap forwards that we haven’t seen in the operating system space in a long time. Let me know in the comments below about all the AI productivity features that Microsoft is adding to its various products. Are they useful or are they just gimmicks? I would love to know what you think.

If you found this video useful, I’d really appreciate it if you gave it a thumbs up. It helps us to get the video seen by more people on YouTube. I’m also going to leave you with another video about how Microsoft is going to bring a big new feature into loop that will really challenge the note-taking and productivity app notion. So do check that out. But that’s it from me for this week and I’ll see you next time.