Microsoft is testing small but impactful changes to draw your attention to Copilot AI on the Windows 11 desktop

Microsoft has made a relatively minor but pretty useful tweak for Copilot in testing, as part of the ongoing effort to bring the AI assistant into play more often with Windows 11.

This is part of the new Windows 11 preview build 22635 deployed in the Beta channel, and the change to Copilot is rolling out gradually, so not all testers in that channel will have it just yet.

The idea is a ‘new experience’ for Copilot that aims to boost your productivity in Windows 11. How exactly? Well, when you copy a text or image file, the AI’s icon in the taskbar has an animation that’s triggered to let you know the assistant can help with that file.

If you hover the mouse over the Copilot icon, you’ll then get some new options – for example with an image file, you’ll be presented with choices including creating an image like the current one, or getting Copilot to analyze the picture.

Windows 11 Copilot Options

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Build 22635 doesn’t do an awful lot more than these Copilot tweaks, but there is another change here for Windows Share. Microsoft is making it so you can use this functionality to share directly to a specific Microsoft Teams channel or group chat. (This is an ability that had been in testing previously, but was temporarily removed due to bugs – and it’s now reinstated).

As ever check out Microsoft’s blog post for the build to find out the full details and known issues in this preview release.

Analysis: Treading a fine line

The fresh tweaks for Copilot are simple but quick ways of interacting with files using the AI. Microsoft is putting these various abilities at the fingertips of the user, and highlighting that the AI can help with said animation on the icon. Clearly, the hope is that having brought Copilot to the attention of the person sat at the Windows 11 PC, this will result in more usage of the AI.

With this change being in the Beta testing channel – the step before Release Preview, where things are finalized for the stable builds of Windows 11 for everyday users – we’ll likely see this introduced with the 24H2 update later this year.

As to the overall concept of having Copilot pointed out actively, if Microsoft is planning to do more along these lines, it’ll have to tread a thin line between helping the user, and perhaps getting on the annoying side with too many little calls for attention.

There’s a fine balance with some aspects of OS development – such as, for example, when recommendations or suggestions in menus become more like adverts – and sometimes Microsoft has strayed beyond the acceptable boundaries, at least in our humble opinion. We’re hopeful this won’t be the case here, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with the current Copilot rejigging in testing.

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You can now draw directly on a PDF – but only if you have an Android phone

Making specific amendments to a PDF file on your Android device could soon be a lot more hands-on thanks to a new update.

Google Drive has announced a new feature that will allow users to annotate or draw onto a PDF file when viewing a preview on their Android device with their finger or stylus.

The company says its new annotation tools will offer users of the cloud storage platform a quick and easy way to make edits whilst on the move, for example when travelling to a meeting or on their commute.

Android PDF edits

When updated, users will now see a new pen-shaped floating action button (FAB) in the bottom-right corner of the screen when opening a PDF file in Google Drive for Android, which when tapped, opens up a new toolbar of options to draw and annotate with.

The pen tool is available in red, black, blue, and green with multiple stroke thicknesses, ranging from 8 to 40px. These can be adjusted by dragging a slider with your finger or stylus. 

There is also a highlighter, which is available in yellow, green, blue, or purple, and an eraser, which is able to remove any strokes you may have made, alongside undo and redo capabilities. Finally, there is an option to hide all edits entirely. 

Your annotations can then be directly saved to the file if it is a PDF, or you can create a new PDF copy of the file with the annotations saved to it. And if you'd prefer a cleaner view, the toolbar can also be snapped to the side of the screen by tapping and holding.

The new function is rolling out now, with users downloading the latest version of Google Drive set to be the first to enjoy – although they will need to have Android 6.0 Marshmallow or above installed on their device.

The update is one of a series of recent upgrades to Google Drive, as the company looks to ensure its service remains useful and intuitive for users everywhere.

It recently added a new toolbar for multi-selecting files too, which Google hopes will make bulk changes easier to accomplish, alongside new “search chips”, which will find files fast by filtering for criteria such as file type, when a document was last modified, and who they have been shared with.

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