Microsoft’s AI tinkering continues with powerful new GPT-4 Turbo upgrade for Copilot in Windows 11

Bing AI, which Microsoft recently renamed from Bing Chat to Copilot – yes, even the web-based version is now officially called Copilot, just to confuse everyone a bit more – should get GPT-4 Turbo soon enough, but there are still issues to resolve around the implementation.

Currently, Bing AI runs GPT-4, but GPT-4 Turbo will allow for various benefits including more accurate responses to queries and other important advancements.

We found out more about how progress was coming with the move to GPT-4 Turbo thanks to an exchange on X (formerly Twitter) between a Bing AI user and Mikhail Parakhin, Microsoft’s head of Advertising and Web Services.

As MS Power User spotted, Ricardo, a denizen of X, noted that they just got access to Bing’s redesigned layout and plug-ins, and asked: “Does Bing now use GPT-4 Turbo?”

As you can see in the below tweet, Parakhin responded to say that GPT-4 Turbo is not yet working in Copilot, as a few kinks still need to be ironed out.

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Of course, as well as Copilot on the web (formerly Bing Chat), this enhancement will also come to Copilot in Windows 11, too (which is essentially Bing AI – just with bells and whistles added in terms of controls for Windows and manipulating settings).


Analysis: Turbo mode

We’re taking the comment that a ‘few’ kinks are still to be resolved as a suggestion that much of the work around implementing GPT-4 Turbo has been carried out. Meaning that GPT-4 Turbo could soon arrive in Copilot, or we can certainly keep our fingers crossed that this is the case.

Expect it to bring in more accurate and relevant responses to queries as noted, and it’ll be faster too (as the name suggests). As Microsoft observes, it “has the latest training data with knowledge up to April 2023” – though it’s still in preview. OpenAI only announced GPT-4 Turbo earlier this month, and said that it’s also going to be cheaper to run (for developers paying for GPT-4, that is).

In theory, it should represent a sizeable step forward for Bing AI, and that’s something to look forward to hopefully in the near future.

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Microsoft’s mission to make Windows 11 worse continues with ads in the Start menu

Windows 11 has just received an optional update which applies some useful fixes… but also something a bit more controversial for the Start menu.

As spotted by Bleeping Computer, that’d be what Microsoft describes as “notifications for Microsoft accounts” appearing in the Start menu, a feature that some suspect has a hidden agenda.

What do we mean by that? Well, in the support document introducing patch KB5023778 for Windows 11 22H2 PCs, which is still in preview but will be fully rolled out next month, Microsoft gives an example of a notification: a pop-up panel warning the user that they need to back up their files.

Sensible advice, and of course, it's a good idea to back up your main folders (documents, pictures, and so on) to the cloud every now and then as suggested (and locally too, maybe using an external drive for instance).

You can guarantee, though, that starting a backup from this prompt will try to get you to use OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage service. Because as we know, these Start menu prompts are notifications related to Microsoft accounts and connected services like OneDrive.

Past leaks from Albacore (a well-known leaker on Twitter) have also shown Microsoft prodding users (in test builds) to hit up OneDrive in this manner, or to create a Microsoft account (or to complete their Microsoft profile).

Regarding this new feature, Microsoft tells us: “This is only available to a small audience right now. It will deploy more broadly in the coming months. Some devices might notice different visual treatments as we gather feedback.”

The freshly unleashed optional update also provides a bunch of bug fixes, including one for a glitch that affects printers (connected via a USB port) and makes them appear to be multimedia devices.


Analysis: The start of something ominous?

So, this Start menu feature is progressing, clearly. We saw it in the Release Preview channel for Windows Insiders (testers) just a week ago, and now, it’s hitting actual Windows 11 PCs going forward.

Admittedly, it’s still an optional (test) update right now, but it’ll almost certainly be part of April’s cumulative update for Windows 11 deployed in a couple of weeks. Unless Microsoft has a last-minute change of heart and pulls the plug at the precipice of deployment (and at this point, that’s very unlikely).

Of course, it’s only rolling out to a small subset of Windows 11 users initially. Although that in itself is telling – Microsoft is evidently concerned about the response and is still testing the waters in a limited fashion, as it were, with a broader rollout not coming for ‘months’ to boot. The software giant is being careful about this one, and doubtless for good reason.

Maybe we won’t even see these kind of ads – or reminders, as Microsoft couches them – all that often in the Start menu. They could just be very occasional things. We don’t know, and we also don’t know exactly where Microsoft is going to be drawing the line between suggestions or recommendations, and pushing its own services as a form of help to the user which effectively crosses over into the realm of advertising.

Time will tell, but it’s clear enough that suggestions are set to be a big thing in the future for Windows 11 (or indeed Windows 12). Recently we’ve seen further hints of personalized recommendations in the Start menu, including recommended websites to visit (yes, that concept is seemingly back on the table), which again would seem to be ripe territory for what could effectively be advertising.

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Start11 continues to solve Windows 11’s taskbar issues before Sun Valley 2 arrives

Stardock has updated its Start menu for Windows 11, which brings more options to help manage the Taskbar.

Since the release of Windows 11 in November 2021, reception to the new Start menu has been mixed at best. The centered icons and the fewer features of the Start menu have frustrated some, and while feature updates from Microsoft have refined the Taskbar, users are still wanting more customization.

The recent 1.2 version of Start11 brings the ability to group multiple icons into one on the taskbar, alongside bringing drag and drop to the taskbar from today (March 17), instead of waiting for a future Windows 11 update, most likely Sun Valley 2.

The app is available as a free download for 30 days, after which you can buy a license for $ 4.99 / £5.99 / AU$ 5.99 for your PC.


Analysis: Take note, Microsoft

Start11 on Windows 11

(Image credit: Stardock)

The impressive aspect of Start11 isn't that you can use features that were removed in Windows 11. Rather, it's how you can customize it to levels that Microsoft wouldn't consider including.

From the color scheme of the Taskbar, to changing the design to better mimic the Start menus of Windows XP and Windows 8, Start11 offers that level of curation that Microsoft seemingly hasn't thought of.

In our review of Windows 11 we noted that it was the first step of a reboot to Windows as a whole. We're already seeing the results of this with Windows Media Player returning, and other apps that are finally seeing a design refresh.

But the Start menu is an iconic feature of Windows, ever since it debuted in Windows 95, so any change was bound to spark some debate between users. However, Start11 looks set to ease those concerns, regardless of what Microsoft may have planned for the Start menu in the future.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

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Start11 continues to solve Windows 11’s taskbar issues before Sun Valley 2 arrives

Stardock has updated its Start menu for Windows 11, which brings more options to help manage the Taskbar.

Since the release of Windows 11 in November 2021, reception to the new Start menu has been mixed at best. The centered icons and the fewer features of the Start menu have frustrated some, and while feature updates from Microsoft have refined the Taskbar, users are still wanting more customization.

The recent 1.2 version of Start11 brings the ability to group multiple icons into one on the taskbar, alongside bringing drag and drop to the taskbar from today (March 17), instead of waiting for a future Windows 11 update, most likely Sun Valley 2.

The app is available as a free download for 30 days, after which you can buy a license for $ 4.99 / £5.99 / AU$ 5.99 for your PC.


Analysis: Take note, Microsoft

Start11 on Windows 11

(Image credit: Stardock)

The impressive aspect of Start11 isn't that you can use features that were removed in Windows 11. Rather, it's how you can customize it to levels that Microsoft wouldn't consider including.

From the color scheme of the Taskbar, to changing the design to better mimic the Start menus of Windows XP and Windows 8, Start11 offers that level of curation that Microsoft seemingly hasn't thought of.

In our review of Windows 11 we noted that it was the first step of a reboot to Windows as a whole. We're already seeing the results of this with Windows Media Player returning, and other apps that are finally seeing a design refresh.

But the Start menu is an iconic feature of Windows, ever since it debuted in Windows 95, so any change was bound to spark some debate between users. However, Start11 looks set to ease those concerns, regardless of what Microsoft may have planned for the Start menu in the future.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More