Microsoft is adding a Windows 11 feature that makes accessing your phone’s photos even easier

A new feature is coming to Windows 11 that will make transferring screenshots from your phone to your PC much easier. Thanks to testing being done by Microsoft, you should soon have the ability to access and edit your screenshots from your phone directly on your PC.

The Windows Insider Program for Developers is a channel that receives experimental builds of Windows 11 that represent any upcoming updates or new features that Microsoft plans to implement in the near future, in order to gather feedback before pushing features to the public version. 

When enabled in the Dev Channel, the Windows 11 Build 23619 now has a ‘Cross-Device Experience Host update’ that will replace the existing Phone Link feature, using this new feature instead to connect your phone and your PC.

Once your phone is connected, every time you take a screenshot on your phone a little pop-up will appear in your desktop notifications. You’ll then have to option to view, edit or share your screenshot straight from your PC.

Simple and smooth sharing 

I’m pretty excited for the feature to officially arrive in the public build of Windows 11, as it takes the hassle out of sending your photos to your PC via either a cable, messaging service or cloud storage service in order to edit them. At least once a week, I have to email myself screenshots from my phone to open on my computer, so it’ll be incredibly time-saving to simply have a little notification pop up on my desktop instead that I can choose to ignore or open and get to work. 

This feature will also be really good for those of us who might not be as technologically adept or are just in a hurry to transfer a new photo. It’s much easier to explain to someone who might need help that if you connect your phone to your PC using this feature you can simply take the screenshot and the pop-up will automatically appear, rather than explaining a lengthier step-by-step process to them.

It’s always good to see Microsoft continually working to improve Windows 11 – especially given some people’s unwillingness to upgrade from Windows 10. This update also came with some useful fixes, such as squashing a bug that caused crashes when you change voices in Narrator in Settings, and more work to improve the performance of File Explorer.

Via Betanews

You might also like…

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft forges ahead with adding new features to Windows 10 as the OS gets another Windows 11 capability

Remember when Microsoft said Windows 10 wouldn’t get any more features, and was effectively on ice, with the exception of minor tweaks? Well, the reversal of that policy is clear enough now, as another inbound feature for Windows 11 is also coming to its predecessor OS.

Namely a ‘richer weather experience’ – including dynamic, interactive weather updates – on the lock screen.

This is something that’s already been spotted in testing for Windows 11, and is now in the latest preview build for Windows 10 (version 19045.3992).

It means that when you hover over the weather on the lock screen, further info is revealed. On top of that, if you click the weather card, you get the MSN website weather forecast popping up (in Microsoft’s Edge browser, as you might guess).

This will be the default setup for the lock screen if its status is set to ‘none’ Microsoft explains, but you will be able to turn it off if you wish.

Analysis: Thawing the feature freeze

Okay, so this is no big deal as a feature, but nonetheless it is a new piece of functionality, and not a minor tweak. Of course, the other addition since Microsoft announced that feature freeze for Windows 10 was the introduction of Copilot – and you couldn’t get a more major move than that.

As Windows Central (Zac Bowden), which spotted this latest development, points out, late last year, when Copilot was announced for Windows 10, Microsoft did say it was revisiting its decision to halt features for the older OS, and planned to make ‘additional investments’ in the operating system. It appears that this is happening, then, and we can likely expect further features to be bolted on to Windows 10 as 2024 rolls onwards.

Furthermore, Bowden has heard on the grapevine that Microsoft will be reopening the Windows 10 Beta channel for testers, which is a clear suggestion that more features will be on the way for the operating system – as they’ll need to go through a full testing process.

You might also like…

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft is adding ChatGPT-powered AI to its iconic Notepad app – but does it need it?

Do you think the iconic Windows Notepad app lacks flashy features? Then don’t worry – Microsoft is integrating ChatGPT AI into Notepad for Windows 11. 

Microsoft’s newest all-purpose digital AI assistant, Windows Copilot, has been around for a little while now, and it’s currently fairly limited in what it can actually do. Microsoft is no doubt working on adding features, such as the recently-added ability to analyze user-uploaded screenshots. Alongside Copilot, Microsoft announced a specific assistant AI bot for Paint named Cocreator, an AI image generator that generates images from a user-provided description. 

Now, it looks like Notepad, a Windows staple and simple text editor that’s been included as default on Windows devices since 1983, is also getting a Cocreator of sorts (possibly named Cowriter). Windows Latest reports that Microsoft is testing out an AI bot powered by GPT-4, OpenAI’s large language model (LLM) and its most advanced language generation system. 

References to this feature (yet to be officially announced and released by Microsoft) have been spotted in the app package folder of Notepad by Windows enthusiasts. The updated Notepad app package reportedly has files with prefixes like “CoWriterCreditLimitDialog”, “CoWriterDropDownButton”, and “CoWriterWaitlistDialog” in their names. According to Windows Latest, these refer to user interface (UI) elements and dialogs that we could possibly see in Notepad AI’s UI.

Copilot in Windows

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Sneaking a peak at what's coming to Notepad's UI

From what we’ve seen so far, an AI-assist bot in Notepad will enable users to enlist ChatCPT-powered text generation directly in the Notepad app. That said, it looks like there will be limits in place, with the reference “CreditLimitDialog” suggesting a potential usage quota and “credit” system for how much you can use the AI feature. If it’s similar to Bing Image Generator or Cocreator in Paint, you’ll probably receive boosts (or credits), to generate unique content within Notepad. After this initial bonus amount, you might still be able to generate content with Notepad’s AI feature, but it’ll take longer than it does using the boosts. 

Because Microsoft itself hasn’t announced the feature yet, we don’t know if the credits will be on a word-by-word basis. 

Other references have been spotted that might indicate what Notepad’s AI will look like in Notepad’s UI. A reference to “CoWriterDropDownButton” points to a button on the right hand side of Notepad that allows you to open up the Notepad AI feature’s panel to use it. This was spotted by Windows Insiders, members of the Windows Insider Program which allows enthusiasts and developers to previous upcoming Windows features and builds, who publicized their findings on X (formerly Twitter). 

See more

One other UI-type reference that was found was “CoWriterInfoButton” which could be a button that might work like a “Help” button. This could provide users with more information such as instructions on how to use it, ideas for how users can use the feature, and other help and troubleshooting information. 

Windows Latest speculates that Notepad’s AI feature might start rolling out to tests (presumably Windows Insiders) very soon, but there might be a waitlist (according to references found by some Windows testers according to The Verge). 

This isn’t the first AI-powered text editing feature that Microsoft has worked on – it introduced an Editor feature to Microsoft Edge last year that was capable of a range of text-related functions. These include spelling and grammar suggestions, autocompletion functions, help with research and formatting, and rewriting and clarity-related suggestions. 

In a similar way, Notepad’s AI tool will seek to make suggestions relevant to the context of the document and specific to the type of content you’re writing. In a promotional image for the feature, found in Notepad’s updated app package, there’s a counter in the bottom ribbon of Notepad that reads “1 of 4,” indicating that you can get multiple suggestions for a text selection that you can browse and choose one to your liking. You can ask for modifications to do with “Length,” “Tone,” “Format,” and “Instructions” for a selection of text, similar to how Windows Copilot functions in Office apps like Word, Powerpoint, and Outlook.

Microsoft Office Visual Refresh

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The AI tool might be in testing – but opinions are already coming out

Vigilant observers also pointed out that there’s a “thumbs up” icon with a counter to allow users to give their opinion of the output that the AI tool produces, similar to the feedback function you can see in ChatGPT itself after it gives you a response. Feedback helps the developers of these AI tools fine-tune them to provide better responses. 

When Copilot was first introduced, Microsoft made it clear that it wants to transform how you interact with Windows altogether with the help of Copilot and that Copilot was going to make its way through Microsoft 365’s apps, and be deeply embedded in Windows 11 to help you with all kinds of tasks. This development shows just how insistent Microsoft seems to be about Copilot, and AI-assistant bots and features in general. Some people point out that apps like Notepad and Paint are known for their straightforwardness, and that an AI-assist bot detracts more from that than it helps. The feature has not yet officially been debuted for beta testing in testing channels, but Microsoft seems very keen to push forward with AI on as many fronts as possible. 


TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Samsung may be adding AI to its home appliances – I’m so ready to chat to my oven

Samsung is set to bet big on the AI hype and enhance a range of home appliances with AI capabilities – including premium and budget appliances across multiple categories, like smart TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners, and everything in between. 

According to DigiTimes, the tech giant intends to “equip all its new home appliance products with neural processing units (NPUs)” in 2024. Samsung’s Home Appliances Division is apparently working on updating various smart device chipsets, with the goal being to enable power-efficient, always-on AI tools that’ll assist users. 

This could mean a variety of new features will be made available to spruce up your home, like advanced voice recognition and a smarter version of Samsung’s voice assistant Bixby, which could answer questions and work with the rest of your smart home to help come up with lists or answer queries. 

Never burn a cake again!

As noted by Tom’s Hardware, one of the more exciting possibilities the proposed AI integration could lead to is smart ovens. As someone who regularly battles with my low-tech oven, a smart oven that can suggest cooking times, tell me when things are burning, or advise me that my dinner needs to be cooked a little longer would be great. 

AI integration may seem like it’s going off the rails a little bit with how quickly our day-to-day lives are getting boosted by artificial intelligence. But, if there’s one tech department that would greatly benefit from that intelligent upgrade, it’s smart home appliances.

That being said, the change may not be welcomed by everyone. There is the concern of privacy and security, and the strange new territory of giving a little more of our life to the bots. But if it keeps me from burning my cakes, I’m willing to let this one slide.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft risks angering Windows 11 users by adding more adverts in Copilot AI

Microsoft is expanding the rollout of its Copilot AI to testers in the Beta channel for Windows 11 – but it comes with a sting in the tail.

Copilot has arrived with Beta build 22631.2129, but as with the preview incarnation of the AI in earlier builds, it’s in a limited form right now.

As Microsoft observes, this is more about getting the integrated UI for Copilot right – it runs in a sidebar, to the right – rather than testing all its features. We’re told that “additional functionality [is] coming down the road in future previews.”

Also, it should be noted that Copilot will be a “controlled feature rollout” meaning only a small amount of testers will get it initially. It’ll arrive for more folks in the “coming weeks”, so this is a rollout that could take some time.

(It’s also worth noting that not every Insider will get this build either – new testers, and a subset of existing testers, won’t get 22631 as it might cause their device to be put “into a bad state”, which sounds ominous).

If you’re not seeing Copilot and you’re in the Beta channel, then, this isn’t unexpected – but you should make sure you’re running Microsoft Edge version 115.0.1901.150 or better. (As the AI is powered via Edge, you definitely won’t get it on an older version of the browser).

For those who do receive Copilot, here comes that sting we mentioned at the outset. Microsoft tells us: “You may see inline recommendations we think are relevant through ads in Bing. We’ll continue to learn and listen to customer feedback.”

Yes, there we have it – adverts are going to be displayed in Copilot (we’ll come back to discuss that more thoroughly in a moment).

Elsewhere in build 22631, there’s a raft of tweaks and improvements, including some fresh work on bolstering accessibility. That comes in the form of the ability to now use Voice Access on the lock screen, plus there are new text editing controls when using speech dictation. (In order to help correct words that are misheard, or mistyped, as it were, by the voice recognition system – like putting ‘cereal’ when you meant ‘serial’ for example).

Check out Microsoft’s blog post for the full list of changes.

Windows 11 Copilot in Beta channel

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Analysis: So, ads in Copilot – testers, make your feelings known…

Windows Copilot making it to a beta build already is a pretty big thing, actually. This relatively swift progress through test builds suggests that Microsoft is serious about getting the AI integrated into Windows 11 this year. Rumors have indicated that Copilot could land with the 23H2 update, and this makes it look like that’s more likely to happen – even though we’ve said in the past we don’t think it will.

We’re still very unsure if it’s wise for Microsoft to push this hard getting Copilot out so quickly, though. The AI remains pretty barebones, and as Microsoft makes clear, it only has a “basic set” of Windows settings you can manipulate. (Turning on dark mode, or do not disturb, or ordering Copilot to take a screenshot are a few examples of Windows 11 functionality given in the blog post).

It's mostly still about the Bing AI summarizing things, or composing a picture, or writing text for you, and so forth – all the stuff that can be done already using the Bing chatbot on the web.

Over time, more features will be added, of course – and third-party plug-ins will expand Copilot’s functionality considerably – but all that seems quite a way down the line.

With Windows 11’s 23H2 update potentially arriving in October, that’s really very close now, so we don’t really get what Microsoft is planning here. It feels like the full launch of Copilot will be a basic incarnation of the AI, if it happens, and that runs the risk of underwhelming with first impressions. Oh well, we shall find out soon enough.

As for Copilot serving up adverts, this is something that Microsoft has said in the past, but the software giant appears to be pushing ahead with this frankly reckless idea. That’s not too surprising, though, as we are seeing more efforts to cram ads into Windows 11 – disguised as recommendations – lately. But obviously, it’s still a very unwelcome move in an operating system Microsoft charges you for.

We’d expect feedback to be pretty withering on this, particularly if, as it sounds, these will be more out-and-out adverts than what we’ve already seen in Windows 11 (like badging in the Start menu). And so hopefully Microsoft will have to take that into account, and curtail these ambitions. Hopefully being the keyword there…

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft is quietly adding a killer new Windows 11 feature that will make fixing your PC a breeze

Microsoft has quietly added a handy new feature to an early version of Windows 11 that could make fixing problems with your PC much easier.

If you’ve been using PCs for a while, you’ll probably have found that if your computer starts acting weirdly and you can’t figure out why, reinstalling Windows can often fix things. However, this is usually a last resort, as the process can be time-consuming – and you have to make sure you have everything backed up, so you don’t lose important files.

As Neowin reports, Windows 11 build 25905 has rolled out to people who have signed up to the Windows Insider program to help test out early versions of upcoming Windows updates, and it comes with a new feature in the Recovery settings.

This new feature allows you to fix problems with your PC using Windows Update. It seems that if you select this option, Windows 11 will download the latest available update and do a ‘fresh’ install of that, while keeping your apps, files, and settings.

A great idea, but with some drawbacks

This new feature is probably one of the better ideas Microsoft has had, and if it works, it really could make fixing some Windows 11 problems a lot easier.

In the past, doing a clean install of Windows could be a right pain, as it essentially meant wiping your hard drive and starting again. In the bad old days, this also meant digging out your installation disks and activation code. If you lost those, then you were in trouble.

Even in later versions of Windows, such as Windows 11, which added an option to reset Windows, which was similar to doing a full reinstall but without much of the inconvenience, such as having to use installation media, it was still a lengthy process, as you had to reinstall many of the applications you use.

If this feature works as promised, the process should be even more streamlined, with all your apps and documents remaining untouched, and could mean the process of fixing any annoying problems is pretty fast and painless.

There are some drawbacks, however, as it appears to enable the feature you’ll need to boot into Windows 11 first – which isn’t much help if your PC is refusing to boot. It’s not clear if you can access this feature via safe mode either.

If the problem has been caused by the latest Windows 11 update, then reinstalling that update might not fix the problem, either.

Still, I’m always happy to see Microsoft introduce new ways to help fix problems, and while the company seems to have kept this new feature quiet, it could end up being one of the most useful additions in recent years. Hopefully, it’ll roll out to all users in the coming months.  

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

ChatGPT is adding Bing access on iPhone, but only if you pay up

ChatGPT’s iPhone app is going to offer users access to the internet via Bing – but only if you’re willing to pay for a premium ChatGPT subscription.

OpenAI’s large language models (LLM) that power its ChatGPT bot have taken the tech world by storm this year, with GPT 3 and now GPT 4 integration being introduced to a bevy of products including Spotify, Bing, and even Mercedes cars.

Some integrations go both ways too, with Bing being added to ChatGPT’s web version back in May. Now Bing has come to ChatGPT’s iPhone app for people who pay $ 20 a month for ChatGPT Plus (roughly £16 / AU$ 30).

This looks set to be a major upgrade for the iPhone app. One significant drawback to ChatGPT and the GPT 4 LLM is that it only has data that’s accurate up to around September 2021 – so if you ask the LLM questions about events that happened in 2022 or 2023 it probably won’t know what you’re talking about, and it may hallucinate (read: make something up). Giving GPT 4 access to Bing would enable the chatbot to find answers to questions that fall outside of its stored data. 

Don’t expect this Bing integration to be an instant enhancement to ChatGPT’s iPhone version mind. For one thing, the feature is only in beta, so it may have a few issues that OpenAI still needs to patch out. For another, while the internet is home to more recent data that could help boost the AI’s reliability, it’s also home to inaccurate info, so ChatGPT’s answers will likely still feature errors. 

How to use ChatGPT with Bing on iPhone 

To use ChatGPT’s new Bing powers on your iPhone you’ll need to sign up for ChatGPT Plus. You’ll then want to download the latest version of the iOS app (v1.2023.173).

Microsoft Bing logo on a white smartphone screen

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Primakov)

Once your update has been completed, make sure you’re signed in to the app and then tap the menu button (the three dots) at the top-right corner of the screen. Then tap Settings, then New Features. In this sub-menu you should see an option to enable Browsing; select GPT-4 as your model, and make sure to select 'Browse with Bing'.

For now, there’s no Android app for ChatGPT, though one is apparently coming soon. Microsoft has also said that Bing integration will be available to non-paying ChatGPT users, but for now, it’s only for Plus subscribers. If you want to enjoy an AI-powered Bing experience for free (and on Android or iOS), you’ll need to download the Bing app and use its Bing Chat feature.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Gmail is adding more AI to help you find important emails faster

AI seems to be everywhere at the moment, and Google is building the tech into its products faster than most. Gmail is the latest Google app to get an injection of artificial intelligence, to improve search results on mobile.

“When searching in Gmail, machine learning models will use the search term, most recent emails and other relevant factors to show you the results that best match your search query,” Google explains in a blog post (via Android Central).

“These results will now appear at the top of the list in a dedicated section, followed by all results sorted by recency,” the post continues. In other words, AI will (in theory) pick out the best matches for your search, and put them at the top of the list.

Years of AI

This is coming to the Gmail apps for Android and iOS, and should be rolling out for everyone now. As yet, there's no word on whether or not the same feature will be making an appearance in the desktop web interface for Gmail.

AI has been built into Gmail for years of course, with features like Smart Reply composing short automated replies for you. In recent months, Google has been pushing more advanced, generative AI as a way of composing your emails.

More AI features are heading to search on the web too, while development on the ChatGPT rival Google Bard continues at a steady pace. We can expect plenty more announcements like this one in the months and years ahead.

Analysis: AI needs to be useful

Google and other tech companies seem to have no qualms about pushing out AI features as quickly as they possibly can at the moment, which is what tends to happen in a competitive, emerging field when several players are trying to get out in front.

However, we'd query just how useful all of this AI is going to end up being. Sure, having the option to generate text messages in the style of Shakespeare is quite fun – but wouldn't most people prefer to use their own words from their own heads when keeping up conversations with friends and family?

Even something like Gmail search isn't a complete win for AI. What are the “relevant factors” that the app is using to pick the top results? Are they reliable? Sometimes it feels like the old manual methods of labels and stars are the best ways to keep on top of thousands of emails taking up room in Gmail.

In an age where we're relying on algorithms for everything from choosing our movie recommendations to writing our books, there's still a lot to be said for human creativity and curation, which might be slower but can be a whole lot more useful and engaging.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Google Chrome’s password manager is finally adding this must-have feature

The built-in password manager in Google Chrome is about to get even better as Google is preparing to add the ability to store notes alongside your passwords.

Besides storing your existing passwords, Chrome’s password manager also includes a password generator to help you create strong, unique and complex passwords for each of your online accounts.

While you can use a standalone password manager like LastPass or 1Password to store your passwords securely, Google Chrome and most other browsers now offer similar functionality. However, these paid solutions often come with extra features like secure cloud storage and password sharing in addition to letting you store notes about each of your passwords.

Now though, it appears that Chrome’s built-in password manager will be getting a big upgrade with the next major release of Google’s browser.

Adding notes to your passwords in Chrome

As reported by 9to5Google and first spotted by Leo Varela, the latest Chrome Canary release adds a new feature to Chrome’s built-in password manager that will allow you to store notes with your passwords.

Once this feature becomes generally available, you’ll see a new “Notes” field underneath the username and password fields in Chrome’s password manager. However, this option will only show up when adding a new password or when you go to edit an existing password. Varela also pointed out in his Reddit post that Google is working on adding the ability to securely send passwords to others as well.

Being able to add notes to each of your saved passwords can be quite useful for those with a lot of different online accounts. For instance, you can add a note to give context to the account, to differentiate between a work and personal account or even if you want to back up the answers to the security questions associated with a particular account.

Users running Chrome Canary can test out this feature now and Google has even added the #passwords-notes flag to make it easier to enable. As this feature is currently tied to the release of Chrome 101, it should arrive in the Stable channel around April or May but the timing of its arrival could change.

Via 9to5Google

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft Teams isn’t adding this terrible feature just yet

Video call users around the world may have breathed a big sigh of relief after the launch of filters for Microsoft Teams has been delayed.

The company had been working on a new feature for its online collaboration platform that would have allowed users to customize their appearance before joining a video conferencing call.

The tool was set for launch sometime in 2021, but its Microsoft 365 roadmap entry, simply entitled “Microsoft Teams: Video filters” now shows a release date of March 2022.

Lights, camera, filters

The roadmap entry explains that Teams users will soon gain access to a number of different video filters, which will give them the ability to dial up and down certain aspects of their feed.

“Before joining a meeting, you can use filters to subtly adjust lighting levels and smooth out facial features to customize your appearance,” wrote Microsoft.

The company first announced its intention to introduce Microsoft Teams video filters in summer last year, before then targeting an August 2021 release window until today's update.

It added that the feature could prove useful to a range of users, especially those working out of a dimly lit home office or using a poor-quality webcam.

Filters are also already present in competing offerings such as Google Meet, which recently revealed a new settings panel to help both you and your workspace look the best you can when joining video calls.

With Google Meet's new settings panel, users will be able to quickly access effects such as background blur, background images and styles before and during a video call.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More