Today at Build 2023, Microsoft announced Windows Copilot for Windows 11. As the first PC operating system to include integrated artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, like those found in ChatGPT and Bing Chat, Microsoft is centralizing AI features already available in Bing Chat as a new capability in Windows 11. It will also allow users to expand out-of-the-box functionality with first and third-party plugins.
Windows 11 already has, although somewhat limited, integration with Bing Chat in the taskbar search box. Because of the limited screen real estate, and nature of how the flyout search panel works, Microsoft has opted to flesh out its generative AI capabilities in a separate app – Windows Copilot.
Like the generative AI features in Bing Chat, Edge, and Designer, Microsoft says that Windows Copilot will help users bring their ideas to life, and complete projects with coworkers faster – as opposed to working across multiple applications. Windows Copilot will integrate with Microsoft 365 so it can be used as a collaborative tool and not just an app that generates ideas that then need to be manually shared elsewhere.
Windows Copilot will be an application in Windows 11 that provides users with personalized answers to questions using natural language queries – much like ChatGPT and Bing Chat today. It can also perform actions on a user’s behalf, like changing a setting, starting a playlist, and opening an app.
Windows Copilot will be aware of what apps a user is currently working with and provide context across them to help get more relevant answers. For instance, Windows Copilot knows that you are currently working on a spreadsheet in Excel, and it could provide answers relevant to a current project. Microsoft is trying to blur the lines between applications with the help of Windows Copilot.
Windows Copilot provides ChatGPT-like answers to questions in the context of a conversation. You might ask it to research a product, get more information on the results, and then ask it to summarize the information.
Bing Chat uses Microsoft’s Prometheus technology, which orchestrates answers using information it gets from a language model based on ChatGPT 4 and more current information from Bing Search. If you haven’t tried ChatGPT or Bing Chat yet, give them a go to get an idea of what you will be able to do with Windows Copilot.
Microsoft says that with Windows Copilot, you could ask it to rewrite, summarize, or explain content copied from one application and then paste a reworked version into another. And third-party plugins will let developers tap into this powerful capability in Windows 11 to augment experiences while providing new ways to reach users.
Windows Copilot will be provided as an application that can be docked in a side pane so that it remains persistent on the screen alongside other apps. It can be launched using a button on the taskbar.
Microsoft says that a preview of Windows Copilot for Windows 11 will be made available in June. It didn’t say if Copilot would be limited to Windows Insiders or be made more broadly available. I expect to see a final version of the app be part of Windows 11 23H2, which is expected in Q4 2023.
If you are a developer interested in creating a plugin for Windows Copilot, you can stay up to date with the latest news and get access to the preview here. Microsoft says that plugins developed for Bing and ChatGPT will also work with Windows Copilot.
But the AI in Windows 11 isn’t ending with Windows Copilot. Microsoft also announced today that it’s bringing new experiences, features, and tools via the Microsoft Store.
The AI Hub is a new curated section of the Microsoft Store, which will be used to promote the best AI experiences for users. Microsoft says:
Introducing the AI Hub, a new curated section in the Microsoft Store where we will promote the best AI experiences built by the developer community and Microsoft. This is a space where we will educate customers on how to start and expand their AI journey, inspiring them to use AI in everyday ways to boost productivity, spark creativity and so much more. For example, you will be able to use AI to express your creativity through Luminar Neo and Lensa, master your video and audio with Descript, Krisp and Podcastle, present your ideas with Gamma and Copy.ai, build your resume with Kickresume, generate your voice with Play.ht, or even plan your trip with Tripnotes.Microsoft
Other new AI features coming to the store include summarized customer reviews for applications and AI-generated keywords to help developers quickly add search tags to make apps easier to discover.