Leak suggests Android and ChromeOS to receive deeper device integration

Android devices and ChromeOS may become best friends in the near future as Google is reportedly working on better integrating the two platforms.

Hints of this move were discovered by industry expert AssembleDebug on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter) who recently dove into the files of Google Play Services version 24.06.12. After activating several internal flags, he discovered two new features are currently in development plus certain sections will be renamed to better fit the changes. As 9To5Google points out, Device Connections will be renamed to Devices & Sharing, and there is a new option called Cross-Device Services.

Tapping the section for the first time allows users to choose the Android phones and Chromebooks they want on their cross-device network. There doesn’t appear to be a limit to how many gadgets you can have connected at the same time. It also looks like you can send out invitations en masse to nearby hardware during this time. Once setting up is done, you’re given access to the aforementioned features. Keep in mind it’s unknown exactly how these tools work although there are short descriptions under each one offering a bit of insight.

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Call Cast lets you presumably hop between devices during calls, however it “only works with certain apps”. Internet Sharing, on the other hand, is more nebulous. Judging from the onscreen text, it’ll give users a way to share their hotspot connection as well as their Wi-Fi password to member devices in a group. It saves you the trouble of having to re-enter your password every time you want to add another phone.

Imminent roll out

That’s pretty much all we can gather from this latest info dump. Given the fact AssembleDebug was able to trigger the update and the near-finished state of the interface, we think it’s safe to say the patch is rolling out fairly soon. It’s unknown exactly when it’ll come out, but Android Police in their coverage predicts it’ll release next month for Google’s March Feature Drop alongside other updates. These include the eSIM transfer tool plus Bluetooth Quick Settings.

As with every leak, take all the details here with a grain of salt. Things could change at any time. That said, if it's released as is, it would be a great upgrade to the current mobile environment. Chromebooks already offer cross-device connectivity to Androids, but it’s limited to primarily app streaming. Improving usability like this could allow Google to finally establish a hardware ecosystem similar to Apple’s own.

While we have you check out TechRadar's roundup of the best Chromebooks for 2024

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Microsoft to lay out its ambitious vision for AI integration in Windows 11 – here’s what to expect

Microsoft is moving full steam ahead with its AI efforts, and could soon present its major plans in a special event. It’s anticipated that the company may take to the stage to announce continuing AI integration into Microsoft products, such as Windows 11, Microsoft 365 services, Surface, and others. 

It’s expected that we could even see this announcement as soon as today, Thursday 21, as Microsoft is due to host an event in New York City, which is widely-expected to focus on new Surface devices. However, The Verge points out that this is closely following the announcement of the resignation of the now former Windows and Surface chief Panos Panay.

The Verge has also gotten hold of a memo where Microsoft’s head of consumer marketing, Yusuf Mehdi, highly praises Panay. He then references today’s “special event” which will expand on Microsoft’s and OpenAI’s existing partnership and that this will be “only the beginning” of Microsoft’s AI-powered vision. 

Mehdi directly references Microsoft’s recent integration of OpenAI’s tech into Edge and Bing, as well as Microsoft 365 and Microsoft’s new AI voice assistant Windows Copilot. These improved tools will come installed on all new Windows 11 PCs, including Microsoft’s own Surface lineup and those of OEM partners (OEM means Original Equipment Manufacturer – meaning Microsoft’s partners that also make devices that come with Windows pre-installed, such as Dell). The memo wraps up with Mehdi saying the event “will lay out the vision for what’s ahead.” 

All eyes on the Microsoft event

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Microsoft's internal reshuffling

He went on to indicate that there will be innovations for Microsoft’s Surface, silicon, and devices, headed by Pavan Davuluri.  Interestingly, there have been reports that Microsoft is actively working on its own AI chips that could challenge Nvidia’s chips. 

We could see more information about this at today’s event. The Verge speculates that Microsoft might be trying to convince OEMs to use neural processing unit (NPU) chips that can efficiently handle AI tasks and future Windows versions (such as Windows 12) in their new devices. One model that is expected to debut at the event is the Surface Laptop Studio 2 and it could have one of these new NPU components. 

Mehdi has also spoken on how Microsoft is directing its leadership and organization of its workforce to increase focus on AI and Microsoft Copilot. He is seemingly being pushed by Microsoft as the public face of Windows now that Panay has left, although he doesn’t directly head up any core teams that develop and deliver Windows. The wider leadership approach Microsoft is taking for Windows development and device hardware is spread among three key people: Yusuf Mehdi, Pavan Davuluri, and Mikhail Parakhin, who heads up the team combining Windows, Web, and Services. 

The last of these, Pakhin, is currently Microsoft’s CEO of advertising and web services, and is considered the main engineering leader when it comes to Windows. He’s a less visible public figure, not even putting a profile picture on X (formerly Twitter). Mehdi will be the one to watch for updates about the larger Windows picture, whereas Davuluri and Parakhin will be tasked with making the AI vision for Windows and other devices a reality.

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What Microsoft products might look like in the future

We’ve already seen the first steps of integrating the newly-improved Bing Search and recently added Bing AI right into Windows menus and the taskbar. It’s expected that this integration of web technologies, AI, and services right into Windows will continue. The Verge suggests that Windows is being pivoted to live fully on the web, and this was seemingly backed up in the FTC v. Microsoft hearing that featured an internal Microsoft presentation. This presentation laid out Microsoft’s plans to move the consumer version of Windows to fully live in the cloud.

Whatever the case is, I think we can expect to see something major, perhaps even a bold new direction, as Microsoft says goodbye to Panay. Mehdi wraps up his memo by putting out a call to action for his and other Microsoft staff, and it’s clear that Microsoft very much has his head in the game, despite the high-profile loss of Panay. Today’s event will certainly be an interesting one for anyone interested in the future of Windows and Windows devices. 

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ChatGPT pulls plug on Bing integration after people used it to bypass paywalls

Party’s over for ChatGPT Plus subscribers as OpenAI announced it has temporarily disabled the Browse with Bing beta tool from its service. The reason? Apparently, people used the feature to completely bypass paywalls and consume content for free.

Browsing with Bing gave ChatGPT the ability to pull information from recently published sources so it could answer time-sensitive questions. However, it appears the company’s developers underestimated the feature’s capabilities. According to an official help page, “if a user specifically asks for a URL’s full text,” the AI will fulfill the request, including displaying content from paywalled articles. OpenAI stated it’s fixing this issue because it wants “to do right by content owners.” The tool will return someday in the future. Exactly when is unknown at the time of this writing.

What’s also unknown is how the AI was able to bypass paywalls although there is some speculation on the ChatGPT subreddit. One user points out that since “some paywalls are simply pasted over” articles, ChatGPT could simply read the code rendering the text and display the content without a problem. 

Analysis: Avoiding trouble

The response to this announcement has been pretty negative as subscribers flocked to OpenAI’s Community forums to air their grievances.  Some state Browse with Bing was the sole reason they purchased ChatGPT Plus in the first place. One poster says the feature allowed them to read some repositories on GitHub or forum posts that were in another language. Others said that without Browse with Bing, they’re not getting their money’s worth.

As angry as these people are, it’s totally understandable why OpenAI would disable the tool. The company has been hit left, right, and center by multiple lawsuits. Just to give you an idea, you have the lawsuit from the California-based Clarkson Law Firm which alleges “ChatGPT massively violated the copyrights and privacy of countless people when it used data scraped from the internet to train its tech.” There are authors Paul Tremblay and Mona Awad who claim OpenAI used their books to train the generative AI “without attribution”. And you have Georgia radio host Mark Walters suing the developers for defamation after ChatGPT claimed he embezzled “funds from a non-profit organization.”

What's crazy is all those lawsuits are just from this past month.

Needless to say, OpenAI is currently navigating some rough waters. The last thing the company needs right now is to get hit with yet another lawsuit. Better safe than sorry.

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Web.com and GoDaddy join IONOS and Wix on the Generative AI integration movement

As AI-powered features become more popular across all kinds of industries, a string of website builder services are also jumping on the bandwagon.

Web.com and GoDaddy have become the latest website hosting providers to integrate new AI features into its current website building model.

Along with Wix and IONOS, who both recently announced the launch of its AI text creator and ChatGPT integration, Web.com now offers an AI domain name generator and AI writer, while GoDaddy offers three new AI products that now use generative AI.

AI website building takeover  

Web.com says that both its AI domain name generator and AI writer were developed to remove some of the initial hurdles faced when building a site. 

The tool offers a variety of content prompts and interfaces depending on content needs, making it easy to tailor content to specific needs, for example, emojis for social posts. 

“Web.com offers more than 20 years of experience in helping businesses build and grow their online presences. AI Domain Name Generator and AI Writer are an outcome of our focus on simplifying the experience for customers and our commitment to bringing forward the best set of tools, all to reduce the complexity of succeeding online,” said Ed Jay, President of Newfold Digital, the parent company of Web.com. 

“With these AI features, entrepreneurs can choose the best domains for their business and create engaging content without being copywriting experts themselves. It’s like having a dedicated creative director or copywriter at your disposal.”   

Other customizable elements include design tones, keywords, and multilingual content generation in over 10 languages, including English, Spanish, French, and Mandarin.

GoDaddy incorporates AI

GoDaddy's three new AI products that now use generative AI include: online store product descriptions, customer service messages, an Instagram Facebook Ads.

With the online store product description, a set of prompts are run through three AI models to deliver a summary that gets dropped in the item's description online.

The GoDaddy conversations app summarizes customer service messages and the new update to social platform ads includes digital ads using generative AI for small businesses.

“We've heard from small businesses who want to grow their business, but they also want to improve their work-life balance,” said GoDaddy U.S. Independents President Gourav Pani. 

“GoDaddy built these AI tools with entrepreneurs in mind. Reducing the effort to create content that attracts and engages their customers, for instance, frees up small business owners' time to focus on growing their business and devoting time to their families.”

and IONOS?

IONOS’ new ChatGPT integration into IONOS MyWebsite Now Plus and Pro has been added to help its customers create blogs, texts and headlines in seconds.

The text generator uses the application programming interface (API) of ChatGPT 3.5 Turbo from OpenAI. The new integration means that SMBs can take control of their online presence, saving valuable time and resources while creating compelling web content.

“For a technology company like IONOS, artificial intelligence isn’t totally new,” said Achim Weiss, IONOS CEO.

“However, we’re proud to integrate AI technology into a product, supporting our customers in industry-specific writing and website maintenance. AI will further drive and accelerate the digitalization of small and medium enterprises.”

The feature is being integrated as a beta version in the MyWebsite Now Plus and Pro plans and uses the API (Application Programming Interface) gpt-3.5-turbo from OpenAI.

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