Hate the widgets board in Windows 11? Microsoft hopes you might change your mind

Windows 11 is bringing the ability to banish the clutter from the widgets panel to all users, you’ll doubtless be pleased to hear – maybe opening up this part of the interface to being used by a lot more folks.

Previously, we heard about the option to remove the news feed and adverts from the widgets panel – so it purely plays host to widgets, and nothing else – was going to be part of a package of measures for Windows 11 users in the European Economic Area (EEA).

However, it seems this is a change rolling out to all Windows 11 users, as Microsoft advised in a blog post for the new preview build in the Beta channel (22635.2841), as part of some fresh introductions to settings for the widget board.

Microsoft tells us: “One of the new settings enables you to just show widgets on your widgets board,” adding that: “The new settings experience is not limited by region.”

Note that this is in the process of being rolled out, so not all testers in the Beta channel will have it yet. Of course, it’ll take further time to be pushed to the Release Preview channel, and then onto the finished version of Windows 11 (hopefully).

Other tweaks to widget settings include the ability to change the Microsoft account used to pipe through the news feed (if you want it), so you don’t have to be stuck with the account that’s signed into Windows 11.

There are also some tweaks for Copilot, including the AI now appearing in the Alt-Tab menu (for quickly switching between apps in Windows 11), and the ability to use Copilot across multiple screens.

For the full lowdown on all the bits and pieces Microsoft is working on with this preview version, check out the blog post.

Analysis: A hopeful sign?

It seems like Microsoft is listening to feedback, because while widgets can be a useful little extra for Windows 11, there are certainly users who have shied away from the widgets panel due to its pollution with news content pulled from MSN (and ads to make matters worse).

It’s interesting to see this happen just after the negative reaction to the changes being brought in for the EEA, and not other Windows 11 users, who would very much like these choices. So, maybe more of these options will be widely rolled out, after all. We remain unconvinced about that – as the motivation behind them is to comply with regulations in Europe – but who knows.

These are some very useful features, like being able to rid the Windows 11 search box of Bing (and its web results), or the choice to be able to uninstall Microsoft’s Edge browser. Time will tell, but the testing channels are worth watching closely going forward.

In terms of widgets themselves, another useful change rumored in the past is the ability to move them off their panel and pin them to the desktop.

Via Windows Central

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Google Gemini is its most powerful AI brain so far – and it’ll change the way you use Google

Google has announced the new Gemini artificial intelligence (AI) model, an AI system that will power a host of the company’s products, from the Google Bard chatbot to its Pixel phones. The company calls Gemini “the most capable and general model we’ve ever built,” claiming it would make AI “more helpful for everyone.”

Gemini will come in three 'sizes': Ultra, Pro and Nano, with each one designed for different uses. All of them will be multimodal, meaning they’ll be able to handle a wide range of inputs, with Google saying that Gemini can take text, code, audio, images and video as prompts.

While Gemini Ultra is designed for extremely demanding use cases such as in data centers, Gemini Nano will fit in your smartphone, raising the prospect of the best Android smartphones gaining a significant AI advantage.

With all of this new power, Google insists that it conducted “rigorous testing” to identify and prevent harmful results arising from people’s use of Gemini. That was challenging, the company said, because the multimodal nature of Gemini means two seemingly innocuous inputs (such as text and an image) can be combined to create something offensive or dangerous.

Coming to all your services and devices

Google has been under pressure to catch up with OpenAI’s ChatGPT and its advanced AI capabilities. Just a few days ago, in fact, news was circulating that Google had delayed its Gemini announcement until next year due to its apparent poor performance in a variety of languages. 

Now, it turns out that news was either wrong or Google is pressing ahead despite Gemini’s rumored imperfections. On this point, it’s notable that Gemini will only work in English at first.

What does Gemini mean for you? Well, if you use a Pixel 8 Pro phone, Google says it can now run Gemini Nano, bringing all of its AI capabilities to your pocket. According to a Google blog post, Gemini is found in two new Pixel 8 Pro features: Smart Reply in Gboard, which suggests message replies to you, and Summarize in Recorder, which can sum up your recorded conversations and presentations.

The Google Bard chatbot has also been updated to run Gemini, which the company says is “the biggest upgrade to Bard since it launched.” As well as that, Google says that “Gemini will be available in more of our products and services like Search, Ads, Chrome and Duet AI” in the coming months, Google says.

As part of the announcement, Google revealed a slate of Gemini demonstrations. These show the AI guessing what a user was drawing, playing music to match a drawing, and more.

Gemini vs ChatGPT

Google Gemini revealed at Google I/O 2023

(Image credit: Google)

It’s no secret that OpenAI’s ChatGPT has been the most dominant AI tool for months now, and Google wants to end that with Gemini. The company has made some pretty bold claims about its abilities, too.

For instance, Google says that Gemini Ultra’s performance exceeds current state-of-the-art results in “30 of the 32 widely-used academic benchmarks” used in large language model (LLM) research and development. In other words, Google thinks it eclipses GPT-4 in nearly every way.

Compared to the GPT-4 LLM that powers ChatGPT, Gemini came out on top in seven out of eight text-based benchmarks, Google claims. As for multimodal tests, Gemini won in all 10 benchmarks, as per Google’s comparison.

Does this mean there’s a new AI champion? That remains to be seen, and we’ll have to wait for more real-world testing from independent users. Still, what is clear is that Google is taking the AI fight very seriously. The ball is very much in OpenAI’s (and Microsoft's) court now.

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Windows 11 gets a nifty change to make logging onto Wi-Fi easier

Windows 11 has a new preview version that makes a few marked improvements on the wireless front, including a feature that makes it dead easy for visitors to log on to your Wi-Fi network at home.

Preview build 25977 is out in the Canary channel (the earliest test version of Windows 11) and comes with the ability to let someone join your Wi-Fi just by scanning a QR code.

How it works is you head to Wi-Fi properties, and when looking at the Wi-Fi password, a QR code is now displayed. All guests need to do to log on to the Wi-Fi network is scan that QR code with their device’s camera, and it’s done.

So, there’s no need to manually enter the password for your Wi-Fi router or to have to dive into Settings and the Network and Sharing Center and fiddle around in those submenus either. It’s a much more convenient method, in short.

Another Wi-Fi-related change is happening in this preview build, this time pertaining to privacy.

Microsoft has introduced functionality to let you manage the apps that have access to the list of Wi-Fi networks in your local area (as those networks could be used to pinpoint where you are in the real world). If you don’t want an application to have that power, you can simply block it (this ability lives under Settings > Privacy & security > Location).

There’s more on the wireless front, but this time with Bluetooth, as this Windows 11 preview has ushered in support for using Bluetooth Low Energy Audio hearing aids.

If you own such a device, you can now directly pair it with your PC in order to stream audio, take calls, and so on, which is very cool. You’ll need to own a Windows 11 device that supports Bluetooth Low Energy Audio, though.

For the full list of changes and small tweaks here and there, there’s the usual lengthy blog post provided by Microsoft.

Analysis: A new spin on the globe, too

Some of those extra tweaks include a small but pretty useful one which is also worth noting. You know the internet connection icon in the system tray, on the far right-hand side of the taskbar?

Currently, if there’s no connection, it’s a disconnected globe icon, but the slight change is that if the PC is in the process of connecting – but isn’t yet connected – you’ll see an animation to indicate this. In other words, the globe will only appear if you’re definitely offline and no connection is present, or in the process of coming into being.

There’s some useful work on the network side of things here, then, particularly the addition of quick logins for Wi-Fi with that QR code (something that has been available on Android for some time now, as you may be aware).

While we’re picking up on smaller details, it’s worth mentioning that for testers actually intending to grab this Canary build, there’s a big issue on the gaming front. Microsoft observes that “some popular games may not work correctly” with build 25977 (and indeed possibly recent builds just before it).

We aren’t told which of the best PC games these might be, but it’s certainly something to be aware of if you indulge in a spot of gaming on your rig.

Via Windows Latest

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Google Maps is getting a big accessibility update that could change how people connect with the world

Google is introducing new accessibility features to several of its platforms to help people with disabilities get around town more easily.

A few of the six changes will be exclusive to smartphones. Search with Live View on Google Maps will receive “screen reader capabilities… [giving] auditory feedback of the place around you”. This tool is meant to help “people who are blind or low-vision” get helpful info like the name or category of a location and how far away it is from their current position. All users have to do to activate it is tap the camera icon in the Google Maps search bar and then aim the rear camera at whatever is around them.  

Google Maps screen reader

(Image credit: Google)

The screen reader is making its way to iOS starting today with the Android version rolling out in the coming months. Also coming to mobile, the Chrome app’s address bar will be able to detect typos in text and display “suggested websites” according to what the browser thinks you’re looking for. This second tool is meant to help people with dyslexia find the content they’re looking for.

Google points out these two build on top of the recently released accessibility features on Pixel phones like the Magnifier app as well as the upgraded Guided Frame. The latter can help blind people take selfies by utilizing a “combination of audio cues, high-contrast animations, and haptic feedback”. 

Guided Frame is available on the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro with plans to expand it to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 by the end of the year.

Magnifier on Google Pixel

(Image credit: Google)

Easier navigation

The rest of the update consists of minor tweaks to select apps.

First, Google Maps on mobile is adding a “wheelchair-accessible transit” option for people looking for locations that don’t have any stairs at the entrance as well as buildings that are wheelchair friendly. Similarly, Maps for Android Auto will indicate “wheelchair-accessible places” on the screen with a little blue icon next to relevant results. Additionally, local businesses have the opportunity to label themselves as “Disabled-owned” on Google Search in case you want to support them directly.

The last change sees Assistant Routines on Google Home become more like the company's Actions Block app as users can configure the icons on the main screen however they want. For example, the on-screen icons can be increased in size and you can alter the thumbnail image for one of the blocks.

A Google representative told us this batch is currently rolling out so keep an eye out for the patch when it arrives.

We recommend checking out TechRadar’s list of the best text-to-speech software for 2023 if you’re looking for other ways to help you navigate the internet. 

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Copilot AI could soon be available to a lot more Windows 11 users with a big privacy change from Microsoft

Microsoft has an incoming change to Windows 11 – or at least it’s in testing – that makes some moves on the privacy front over in Europe.

Windows Latest spotted something in an older preview build of Windows 11 that was rather glossed over at the time, but recent happenings with the Copilot AI – which has not been made available to European users for privacy reasons – throw an interesting new light on the change.

The preview build we’re talking about was pushed out in August 2023 in the Dev channel (build 23521), and in the blog post introducing it, Microsoft noted the following: “In the European Economic Area (EEA), Windows will now require consent to share data between Windows and other signed-in Microsoft services. You will see some Windows features start to check for consent now, with more being added in future builds.”

Microsoft goes on to say if this consent is declined by the Windows 11 user, that “some functionality in Windows features may be unavailable.” As an example, Microsoft notes that certain file recommendations may not be made in the Start menu’s Recommended panel.

That’s a potentially intrusive element that we’ve been a bit concerned about – in terms of where the line might lie between recommendations and ads, and how flexible that line might be – so European users will potentially be able to dodge the worst of this.

Not just that, of course, as this consent applies to other (unspecified) Windows features – we’ll come back to that shortly.

As for the progress of this EEA consent change, it appears to still be rolling out to those testing Windows 11 and hasn’t come to everyone yet, as Windows Latest observes.

Windows Latest asked Microsoft about this introduction, with the software giant replying: “We have nothing more to share beyond what’s in the blog post [for build 23521]. This change was previously rolled out to the Dev Channel in August.”

Analysis: A hopeful hint of a timely landing for Copilot?

Presumably this change will be more widely rolled out going forward to testers, because it might tie in with an important factor that recently emerged – namely the availability of Microsoft’s Copilot AI.

As we’ve previously reported, even though Copilot is now officially out for Windows 11 (the release version), it’s only certain regions that can get the AI assistant. Due to stricter privacy regulations in the European Union, Microsoft cannot deploy Copilot to users who live there.

Not yet anyway – but a version of Copilot that’s compliant with EU laws is underway, and those Windows 11 users will get the AI on their desktop in time.

Now, we’re just theorizing here, but it seems like Copilot could be one of the various features that’s bound up with this data-sharing consent measure which is now in testing.

If so, the good news for those in Europe who want Copilot is that the groundwork to get the AI available over there was already started a couple of months back. And if you think about it, that makes sense – Microsoft would’ve known about this issue for some time, after all, so would surely be preparing for it in advance.

We can hope, then, that the wait for the Copilot AI for Windows 11 users in Europe might be a shorter one than we expected (and perhaps that other regions will follow soon enough, too).

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11 new AI projects announced at Adobe MAX 2023 – here’s why they could change everything

Adobe is currently holding its MAX 2023 event showing off what it has in store for the next year or so. One of the focal points of the conference was a series of 11 “Projects” that have the potential to become “important elements” of Adobe products in the future.

Recently, the company provided a sneak peek at one of these elements called Project Stardust, which has the ability to separate objects in a photograph into individual layers for easy editing. Users will have the ability to move objects around or delete them. From there, you can have a generative AI create something to take its place. The other 10 perform similarly as they harness AI technology to power their robust editing and creative capabilities. The group is split into three main categories. 


Alongside Stardust in the Photos category, you have Project See Through, a tool that removes reflections in a photograph. Adobe states that glass reflections can be really annoying since they can obscure subjects. Instead of having to go through a multi-step process of editing the image on Photoshop, See Through does it all for you quickly.

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Adobe Project Through before

(Image credit: Adobe)
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Adobe Project See Through after

(Image credit: Adobe)

Video & Audio

Similar to how Stardust can remove objects in images, Project Fast Fill can remove them in videos thanks to the company’s Generative Fill tech. It can also add or change content via “Firefly-powered text prompts.” In the example shown to us, Fast Fill can add a tie to a man whose suit doesn't have or alter latte art in a cup of coffee from a heart to a flower. 

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Next, Project Res Up can bump up the resolution of a clip via diffusion-based upsampling technology. Scene Change is third and it can swap out the background of a video from, say, an office building to a jungle. For audio, there’s Project Dub Dub Dub, a software tool claimed to be able to translate speech from one language to another “while preserving the voice of the original speaker”. 

3D & Design

For the last category, these five are all about helping users create – even if they’re not the best artist. 

Project Draw & Delight can turn your doodle into a polished drawing utilizing a text prompt to guide it. Glyph Ease “makes customized lettering more accessible” by instantly applying specific design elements to a word in Illustrator. All you have to do is provide a rough outline of what you want the AI to add.

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Project Draw & Delight before

(Image credit: Adobe)
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Project Draw & Delight after

(Image credit: Adobe)

The trio of 3D imaging software is more situational, but still impressive nonetheless.

Project Poseable’s AI can morph a 3D model to match “poses from photos of real people.” So if you upload a picture of someone striking a karate pose, the model will do the same. Project Primrose lets artists quickly alter the texture of a rendered piece of clothing. And finally, we have Neo which aids creators in creating 3D objects using  “2D tools and methods.

To reiterate what we said earlier, these projects are prototypes at the time of this writing. There’s no guarantee any of these will become a new feature in Photoshop or any other Adobe product. However, there are some we believe have the potential for an eventual release. 

Stardust, Res Up, as well as Draw & Delight, appear to be the most “complete”. There aren't as many visible flaws as with some of the others. Certain projects require more time in the oven in our opinion. For example, the voice from Dub Dub Dub sounds really stilted and robotic. It's not natural.

Be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best AI art generators of the year if you’re looking for ways to bolster content generation. 

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Windows Copilot might be the biggest change Microsoft has ever made to its long-running OS

Clippy, that helpful paperclip sprite that used to watch your work in Microsoft Word and do its best to help you, was never that smart, or even that deeply integrated with Microsoft's popular computing platform.

Now imagine if Clippy got a brain and body transplant that made it a true genius and then hooked it into the deepest parts of Windows 11. That's Windows Copilot, which was among the big reveals at Microsoft's 2023 Surface Event.

Microsoft showed off a lot of Copilot demos during its packed AI and Surface launch event, but it wasn't until I got an up-close and personal demo of the Copilot preview in action on a Windows 11 system that I truly understood it and the ramifications for the next generation of Windows 11 users.

When the Windows 11 update arrives on September 26, it will bring with it the Copilot preview. Microsoft tells me that it will work with every PC that supports Windows 11.

To be clear, Copilot is not an app. It's marginally a utility. It's more like the voice inside Windows 11 head, a consciousness that is fully aware of everything Windows 11 can do, and much of what you're doing on Windows 11.

Copilot combines all of Microsoft's best AI work to date. It can bring a large language model (LLM) to understand text, and context, and produce fresh text. It integrates Bing Chat to make it conversational (and also supports voice, though I did not see that in my demos).

Two things, though, make Copilot feel like a true part of the Windows 11 experience. The first is, crucially, that Windows 11 copy and paste triggers Copilot, basically waking it up to the possibility of working directly with you.

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Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
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Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
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Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
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Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
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Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
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Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
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Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)

In the demo I saw, we opened a Word document full of a massive list of things to do in New York City – there's nothing like a sea of gray text to make the eyes glaze over.

Copilot isn't pushy like Clippy. It didn't pop up immediately asking if it could help. Instead, copying the text set it off.

The fact that Copilot can see that you're performing one of the most fundamental Windows 11 tasks, and using that action to help you, is a big deal. Once Copilot sees the clipboard text, it politely asks if you want to use that text to chat. Once we did that, Copilot's chat asked what we wanted to do with it (Revise, Summarize, Expand, Explain). You can be quite specific in your requests, so we asked for distances between Tribeca and our hotel.

Copilot is deep inside Windows, but it's not shut out from the outside. As with Bing Chat, Copilot sources the web for answers. In fact, it synthesizes the best answers and then, yes, provides citations and links for it all.

Copilot tries to be extra helpful by going beyond the initial request. In this instance, it also quickly served up some local attractions.

The other thing that tells you Copilot isn't simply a plugin or add-on is that it has its own invoke and dismiss key combo: You use the Windows button and 'c.'

In my opinion, you don't get the keys unless you're part of Windows and not just a temporary tenant.

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Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
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Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
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Windows 11 Copilot

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Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
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Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
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Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)

Other demos further solidified my belief that this is not your father's Windows 11.

When we dragged a food photo from Outlook into the chat windows, Copilot asked what we wanted to do with it. We requested instructions on how to make the unidentified dish. It took a moment (Copilot preview isn't always that fast) for it to identify it as Shashuka, and then offer detailed instructions on how to cook it.

Copilot further demonstrated its integration by working seamlessly with Windows Snip (which always sends snipped images to the clipboard). We snipped a math problem image and, naturally, when we asked, Copilot helped us solve it.

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Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)
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Windows 11 Copilot

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Windows 11 Copilot

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Windows 11 Copilot

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Windows 11 Copilot

(Image credit: Future)

When we told Copilot we wanted to know how to focus at work, it used its platform integration to help guide us through Windows 11's Focus settings.

Copilot can be used for the most prosaic of Windows tasks, as well. Our demo desktop was getting a little cluttered, so we asked Copilot to “snap my windows.” It quickly organized the desktop and offered advice on how to make adjustments.

Windows Copilot Preview will simply arrive with the Windows 11 update. You won't have to install anything and there's no requirement that you use it. However, based on what I saw, if you ignore Copilot, you may be missing out on an entirely new way of working with the World's most widely used desktop platform.

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Hidden change to Windows 11 Start menu uncovered in testing – and we like it

Windows 11 is hopefully set to receive a useful tweak for the Start menu to help users identify which are the core apps for the operating system.

PhantomOfEarth flagged up the change, which is hidden in preview build 23493 and was uncovered using ViVeTool (a Windows configuration utility used for digging into the OS to find incoming features like this).

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So what’s the big idea here? Microsoft is labeling its default apps – the company’s own programs for Windows 11, that come preinstalled with the OS – so the user can clearly see which these are.

Previously, we were told that these were given a ‘Microsoft’ badge to indicate they are first-party apps for Windows 11, but now, that label has been changed to ‘System’, meaning stock apps that come with the system.

These are apps such as Settings, Tips, Windows Security, Xbox Game Bar, Calculator, and so forth.

Analysis: A handy touch for the less tech-savvy

You’ll quite possibly never use some of those apps, but still, it could be useful to have an indication of which apps in the Start menu are first-party efforts Microsoft includes with a Windows 11 installation by default.

People who are familiar with Windows will no doubt in many cases recognize Microsoft’s own bits of software anyway, having used them through the years. But for those newer to the world of computers and Windows 11 novices, it’s handy to have this label, so they know what’s what in the list of apps on the Start menu.

It’s worth noting that this feature is still in the very early stages – hence why it isn’t enabled in the preview build yet – and some system apps aren’t labeled as such (when they should be). That will, of course, change, assuming this tweak makes the cut for inclusion in testing (which seems likely).

Another hidden feature recently discovered in build 23493 is Microsoft’s continued work on snap layouts, making this unloved part of the UI easier and more intuitive to use, which should attract more Windows 11 users to have a dabble with it (or that’s doubtless the idea).

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Windows 11 change proves so unpopular that Microsoft reverses course

Microsoft has reversed a decision it made to change File Explorer in Windows 11 following complaints from testers.

This happened in the freshly introduced build 23486 in the Dev channel, and as Microsoft announced in the blog post to go with that preview version: “Thank you to all the Windows Insiders who gave us feedback on the Folder Options changes in File Explorer that removed a handful of old settings in Build 23481.

“We’ve rolled back this change. As is normal for the Dev Channel, we will often try things out and get feedback and adjust based on the feedback we receive.”

If you missed it, the change (brought in just over a week ago) was removing what Microsoft felt were outdated options for the folders that sit on your desktop.

That includes the setting to ‘Show drive letters’ and ‘Hide protected OS files’ among a number of other options (nine of them in total).

Build 23486 also brings in some work on the passwordless front, with Microsoft enhancing the passkey experience in Windows 11, allowing users to go to any supporting website or app and use passkeys via Windows Hello. (Speaking of the latter, you may get a head-scratching pop-up related to Windows Hello, as we reported yesterday).

Analysis: Registry workaround was not well-received

We should note that Microsoft did leave a route to still access those folder options in the build where they were dropped, namely editing the Registry. But that’s obviously a pretty clunky way of doing things, so it’s no wonder folks weren’t happy with being thrown that ‘bone’ as a consolation of sorts.

To be fair to Microsoft, as the company makes clear in its statement, this is what test builds are for. Someone has an idea – in this case, for streamlining the interface – so they try it out and see whether it works okay, and what the reaction is to the change.

In this case, there was quite a good deal of feedback from users – power users in the main – not happy about having these folder options stripped away in Windows 11, because they still find many (or at least some) of them useful. After they made their feelings known, Microsoft dropped the idea.

It’s good to see the software giant is listening and taking the feedback from testers seriously (as it should, of course: this, and finding bugs, is the entire point of the Windows Insider scheme). There are those out there, mind, who can’t understand why Microsoft would even think about ditching some of these choices.

We may find that in the future, when a broader redesign happens – and a big File Explorer revamp is indeed in the pipeline – that Microsoft might again try to shed some of these options in the name of tidying up the interface. (Hopefully, they can be left in and tucked away in an ‘Advanced’ panel somewhere, though).

Via Neowin

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Meta’s new music AI could change how you craft soundtracks and tunes

The hills are alive with the sound of AI-generated music as Meta launches its new language learning model (LLM): the aptly named MusicGen.

Developed by the company’s internal Audiocraft team, MusicGen is like a musical version of ChatGPT. You enter a brief text description of the type of music you want to hear, click Generate, and in a short amount of time, the AI creates a 12-second long track according to your instructions. For example, someone can tell MusicGen to generate a “lofi slow BPM electro chill [song] with organic samples” and sure enough, the audio sounds like something you’d hear on YouTube’s Lofi Girl radio. 

It is possible to “steer” MusicGen by uploading your own song so the AI has a better sense of structure. One of the developers for the LLM, Felix Kreuk, posted some samples of what this sounds like on his Twitter profile. As an example, MusicGen can take Sebastian Bach’s famous Toccata and Fugue in D Minor then add some drum beats and synths straight out of the 1980s to produce a more upbeat version of the piece.

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MusicGen is currently available to the public on Meta’s Hugging Face website for everybody to try out. Do be aware that, unlike Google's own AI music generator MusicLM, Meta's model can't do vocals, only instrumentals. This is probably for the best as MusicLM vocals sound a lot like Simlish. No one will be able to understand a single thing.

To the musicians out there, you don’t have to worry about losing your careers. The AI is decent at making simple, short melodies, but not much else. In our opinion, the quality isn’t on the same level as something made with human ingenuity. Some of the songs can get pretty repetitive as MusicGen cycles through the same progressions multiple times. This tool can be useful for creating plain background audio for videos or presentations, but nothing truly engaging. The next pop hit won’t be AI-generated – at least not yet

Act fast

If you are interested in trying out MusicGen, we recommend acting fast. First of all, the Hugging Face website is unstable. We had a ton of AI-generated songs ready to share. However, the web page crashed while working on this piece severing our connection to the tracks. We suspect the dead links were caused by sudden high user traffic. Hopefully, by the time you read this, Hugging Face is working properly.

The second reason is a more litigious one. On the official GitHub page, Meta states its team used 10,000 “high-quality [licensed] music tracks” plus royalty-free songs from Shutterstock and Pond5. Ever since the generative AI craze took off earlier this year, artists have begun to sue developers and platforms alike over “illegal use of copyrighted works.” Meta might soon find itself in the crosshairs of some crossed musicians. Even if it doesn’t get sued over using licensed music to train the LLM, record companies aren’t afraid to flex their industry muscle to shut down this type of content. 

If you're looking for details on how to use AI to generate images, be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best AI art generators for 2023. 

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