Microsoft has announced a bunch of new hardware and a new AI experience called Microsoft Copilot. The new hardware includes Surface Laptop Studio 2, Surface Laptop Go 3, Surface Go 4 for business and Surface Hub 3. The more interesting announcement was with regards to the Microsoft Copilot that claims to the transform the way you work. So here’s an explainer on what Copilot is and how can you access it?
What is Microsoft Copilot? How to access it?
Microsoft Copilot is a new productivity tool that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help you work smarter and faster. It is powered by large language models (LLMs) and advanced AI systems that can understand and generate natural language. Copilot integrates your data with Microsoft Graph and Microsoft 365 apps and services like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more.
In a blog post, Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President and Consumer Chief Marketing Officer at Microsoft, said, “ (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.”
Once it becomes available, the new Microsoft Copilot will be accessible via the taskbar or with the Win+C keyboard shortcut, providing assistance alongside all your apps on all screen sizes at work, school or home.
Copilot is designed to be your Copilot for work, not a replacement or a competitor. It does not make decisions for you or take actions on your behalf. Instead, it helps you enhance your creativity, productivity, and skills by offering suggestions and insights you can accept, reject, or modify.
When will Microsoft Copilot launch and what are the new features in Windows 11?
The company says that Copilot will begin to roll out in its early form as part of the free update to Windows 11, starting September 26 — and across Bing, Edge, and Microsoft 365 Copilot this fall. Aside from this, the new update for Windows 11 is claimed to bring “over 150 new features”, which is touted as the “most ambitious update yet”.
The Paint app in Windows has been enhanced with AI for drawing and digital creation with the addition of background removal and layers, as well as a preview of Cocreator that brings the power of generative AI to the Paint app. The Photos app, as well as the Snipping tool, have also received AI-based enhancements.
Further, Notepad will automatically start saving your session state, allowing you to close Notepad without interrupting dialogues and then pick up where you left off when you return. Outlook for Windows has also been updated so that you can connect and coordinate your various accounts (including Gmail, Yahoo, iCloud, and more) in one app.
The file explorer has also been modernised. It has a more modern home, address bar and search box, “all designed to help you more easily access important and relevant content, stay up to date with file activity and collaborate without even opening a file”. Also coming to File Explorer is a new Gallery feature designed to make it easy to access your photo collection.
Apart from this, Windows Backup has been updated to make transitioning most files, apps and settings from one PC to another a seamless process. All of these are a part of the upcoming Windows 11 update slated to release on September 26.
Updates to Bing & Edge
A slew of new updates have also been introduced for Bing and Web. Bing now has personalised answers to consider your previous chat with the AI as context for the new one. For example, if you’ve used Bing to track your favourite soccer team, the next time you plan a trip, it can proactively tell you if the team is playing in your destination city. You can turn this feature off in Bing settings if you prefer responses that don’t use your chat history.
Copilot has been further integrated into Microsoft Shopping. If you ask Bing about the product you are shopping for next, it will ask additional questions to learn more then use that information to provide more tailored recommendations. Bing Image Creator is now being loaded with the DALL.E 3 model from OpenAI. This model better understands what you’re asking for, which results in delivering more accurate images.
Next, Content Credentials have also been added to AI-generated images, which use cryptographic methods to add an invisible digital watermark to all images generated by Bing. Lastly, Bing Chat Enterprise is now available in the Microsoft Edge mobile app. “We’re also bringing support for multimodal visual search and Image Creator to Bing Chat Enterprise”, added Mehedi.
Microsoft Copilot 365 release date announced
Microsoft says it learned alongside customers like Visa, General Motors, KPMG and Lumen Technologies for months and is now ready for the release of Microsoft Copilot 365. This new AI technology will be generally available for enterprise customers on November 1.
For those not aware, Copilot 365 is a paid add-on service available for Microsoft 365 customers on specific business and enterprise plans. It works as a copilot for work that can help you create, edit, and improve your documents, presentations, emails, reports, and more.
A new hero experience also goes to Copilot 365, called Microsoft 365 Chat. Microsoft 365 Chat spans your entire universe of data at work, including emails, meetings, chats, documents and more, plus the web. “Like an assistant, it has a deep understanding of you, your job, your priorities and your organisation. It goes far beyond simple questions and answers to give you a head start on some of your most complex or tedious tasks — whether that’s writing a strategy document, booking a business trip, or catching up on emails”, said Mehedi.
Then, new capabilities for Copilot in Outlook, Word, Excel, Loop, OneNote and OneDrive have also been introduced. Furthermore, Microsoft Designer is also present in the set of 365 apps where Dall.E 3 will soon power the image generation experience, making it easy to add original, higher-quality images to your design.
The designer is now being integrated into Microsoft 365 Copilot for consumers — starting with Word. It uses the context of your document to propose visuals to choose from. Microsoft says it has begun testing Microsoft 365 Copilot with a small group of Microsoft 365 consumer subscribers and looks forward to expanding the preview to more people over time.