Yahoo will take on Apple Intelligence and Google Gemini with its own AI features, in a move that will definitely make it relevant again

Guess what: Yahoo Mail is alive and well in the year 2024, and has begun adding new AI capabilities to your inbox to to simplify your emails and improve your overall task management. It’s a big week for AI considering Apple also announced Apple Intelligence at WWDC 24 – and it looks like Yahoo Mail is diving right into the world of AI with the same focus of productivity and digital assistance.

You may be surprised to hear the words ‘Yahoo Mail’ and ‘artificial intelligence’ strung together in the same sentence – rightfully so. While there are probably still a lot of people who haven’t switched up since the earlier 2000s, or people who use it to filter out spam, I can’t say I’ve seen or been emailed by anyone with an @yahoo.com email address ever. 

So, it’s safe to say that Yahoo’s push to include AI tech is likely aimed at trying to get more people to use the email client – and it might very well work. Whether you’re nostalgic for the good ol’ days or just looking to start fresh with a clean email hub that can offer you generative text assistance, personal context, and more, why wouldn’t you try Yahoo Mail? 

I’ve already made my account 

Unfortunately, the beta for Yahoo Mail AI is only available for US-based accounts, but I’m sure that will open up in the near future. In terms of some of the features to look forward to, you’ll have access to AI-generated summaries in a bullet point list, which you can find under a new tab called the ‘Priority Inbox’. So, Yahoo AI will highlight what it believes to be the most important information to you based on content and previous context from your general emailing habits. 

You’ll also have access to a ‘Quick Action’ button so you can add an event to your calendar, check-in for flights, and even track packages on their way over to you. 

However great these features are, there’s one big new change that’s cool enough to sway me over to Yahoo Mail. You’ll soon be able to link your Yahoo inbox to other email accounts like Gmail, and Microsoft Outlook so you can send and receive all your emails right from Yahoo Mail. So, if you want access to Gmail's sophisticated AI tools without having to pay, Yahoo Mail might be worth switching to! 

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Microsoft pushes ahead with controversial move in Windows 11 – having Copilot appear immediately after startup

Remember that Microsoft was previously testing an idea whereby Copilot automatically launches by default when Windows 11 first boots?

Well, Microsoft is pushing ahead with rolling out this feature more broadly, and some of the Windows Insiders who test preview builds aren’t too happy about this.

A quick bit of background here: The functionality to enable Copilot to appear on the desktop when Windows 11 first starts up was brought in with preview releases of Windows 11 back in January.

However, this only happened on a very limited basis with testers in the Dev channel initially, but now Microsoft is expanding the rollout of the feature, as MS Power User noticed – as did various testers posting on X (formerly Twitter).

Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc, senior program manager on the Windows Insider team, addressed some of the eyebrows being raised on X, noting that Microsoft had previously released this feature in build 23615 and that it had been temporarily disabled – but was now back in build 26100 from last week.

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LeBlanc then spoke to the Windows team and returned with another post to clarify that in fact the rollout of this Copilot functionality was actually re-enabled back in February in both Canary and Dev channels, but that what’s happening now is that the deployment of the feature is being expanded.

Whatever the case, it’s clear Microsoft is pushing forward with this concept of having Copilot appear on the desktop when you first turn on your PC.

However, as before, this is only happening for certain users depending on the type of monitor they have – meaning those with a display big enough to handle the Copilot panel appearing in this way. That means a monitor with at least a 27-inch screen and a pixel width of 1920 (with Full HD resolution being 1920 x 1080, of course).


Analysis: The risk of feather ruffling

Clearly enough, this is one of those features which is set to ruffle more than a few feathers. Making it so that Copilot is right there by default on the desktop from the get-go will obviously increase the visibility of the AI for Microsoft, and the amount of usage it gets thereafter.

Presumably that’s the idea, but the equally obvious risk is that having Copilot operate in a more in-your-face manner when the Windows 11 PC boots up is going to provoke the ire of some users.

That said, Microsoft is limiting it to larger monitors, and there is a switch to turn off this feature in Settings, and we can reasonably assume that’ll be carried through to release – if this Copilot auto-boot idea makes it through testing to finished builds of Windows 11, and it may not. Depending on feedback, Microsoft might end up abandoning it.

However, the feature progressing to a wider rollout seems to suggest that it will be a keeper for Microsoft. We’ll know for sure if it turns up in the Beta channel, and the Release Preview channel after that – at the latter point, it’s almost certainly going to make the cut for release.

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Windows 11 or bust: Microsoft is boldly and insistently urging Windows 10 users to move on, or get left behind

Windows 10 might be Microsoft’s most popular operating system, but that’s not going to stop Microsoft from trying to get people to leave the operating system (OS) and upgrade to its successor Windows 11, and its latest attempt appears to be full-screen ads for Windows 11 being displayed to Windows 10 users. 

Microsoft has pinpointed October 14, 2025 as the date when Windows 10 is set to be depreciated. It’s quickly approaching, and after this date, Microsoft will cease providing technical support like bug fixes, and releasing feature updates and crucial security updates for Windows 10. That means that Windows 10 will continue to be functional, but PCs continuing to run on it will be at risk of newly discovered vulnerabilities that can be exploited by bad actors when they’re connected to the internet. 

Windows Central claims, citing Reddit posts in the Windows subreddit (the dedicated Reddit forum for Windows), that some Windows 10 users are seeing intrusive warning screens that advise them to make sure they’re able to get continued support and developments from Microsoft by installing Windows 11. 

asian woman using laptop at business table

(Image credit: Shutterstock / insta_photos)

What Windows 10 users are being met with

The prompt screen seems to have begun appearing following this week’s Patch Tuesday security-focused update, and urges users to learn more about transitioning to Windows 11. If they’re using a PC that’s unable to run Windows 11 – or the user is ineligible for a Windows 11 upgrade (as stated in the screenshot of the warning screen that one Reddit user was met with) – it’s suggested that users look into buying a PC that’s capable of running it. 

The text of the notification begins by thanking users for their loyalty and a reminder that the end-of-support date is very much in sight. Frustratingly, Microsoft doesn’t provide a button or check box to tick to ensure that users don’t have to see the screen again. Instead, there is only a ‘Remind me later’ button and a ‘Learn more’ button, so it looks like there isn’t really a way around it. 

If users can’t update their current PC to Windows 11 and don’t want to buy a new PC (or can’t afford to), there is the option to take up extended security update coverage for Windows 10. This will cost $ 61 per device, according to Windows Central, doubling every year for the next three years, which isn’t a cheap option at all. 

A screenshot of the notifications that Windows 10 users see insisting that they move on to Windows 11

(Image credit: Woopinah9 on Reddit/Microsoft)

A possible recipe for a powder keg of backlack

Unfortunately, this isn’t new behavior from Microsoft, as full-screen notifications trying to get people to upgrade (or pay for extended support) appeared when Windows 7 neared its end-of-life. 

I can see how Microsoft’s approach can cause user annoyance – especially when it comes to preventing users from being able to turn the notification off. Suggesting people buy a new PC or laptop, or paying for an expensive optional support subscription, likely won’t go down too well with users either, especially in the current financial climate. I think it’s obvious how keen Microsoft is to make Windows 11 the main version and to be able to push toward Windows 12, but it’s going to be a struggle.

I think Microsoft would be wise to make sure as many users can install Windows 11 as possible, or it runs the risk of major user frustrations that could have sticking power for at least a little while. The least it could do is allow users to dismiss the notifications (for a little while, even), and maybe consider a different approach. When Windows 7 support was deprecated, for a lot of that time, users were prompted to install Windows 10, rather than its immediate follow-up, Windows 8

Microsoft could extend Windows 10 support until it debuts Windows 12 and then urge users to skip Windows 11 and go straight to 12 (in a similar fashion to encouraging Windows 7 users to leap to Windows 10). It could also ensure that Windows 12 is a large enough upgrade to convince Windows 10 users who might not have thought that upgrading to Windows 11 was worth it.  I understand that this might mean that Windows 10 users stretch out their stay with the operating system as long as possible, but it might also mean that the user pushback is less severe. 

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Been putting off that free Windows 11 or 10 upgrade? Windows 7 and 8 diehards need to move fast

Microsoft just implemented something we never thought we’d see the software giant do – namely closing the loophole allowing for Windows 7 and 8 users to upgrade to Windows 10 or 11 at no cost.

We need to rewind time considerably to return to the start of this particular story, all the way back to when Windows 10 was first launched, and Windows 7 and 8 users were allowed a free upgrade to the new OS.

That freebie offer only lasted for a year after the launch of Windows 10, officially, but even after the deadline expired, it actually remained in place.

In short, anyone with a valid Windows 7 or 8 key could still upgrade their PC to Windows 10 just fine (and by extension, Windows 11 too, when that emerged – assuming the various additional system requirements were met including TPM).

Essentially, this was a loophole Microsoft never bothered to close – until now, because as Windows Central spotted, the company just made an official announcement that this unofficial upgrade path is now blocked (with a caveat).

The software giant said: “Microsoft’s free upgrade offer for Windows 10 / 11 ended July 29, 2016. The installation path to obtain the Windows 7 / 8 free upgrade is now removed as well. Upgrades to Windows 11 from Windows 10 are still free.”

However, as Windows Central points out, it’s important to note that technically, an upgrade is still possible as we write this. This change has just been applied with Windows 11 preview builds for now, but it will come through to the release version of the OS before long, no doubt.

So, if you do want to avail yourself of a free upgrade from Windows 7 or 8, you better move sharpish. It may even no longer be possible by the time you read this.


Analysis: An unexpected development

This is something we didn’t believe would ever happen, frankly, simply because the free upgrade has remained in place, on the sly, for so long. As Microsoft points out, the offer officially expired in mid-2016, over seven years ago – yes, seven years.

So, we just figured, like many others, that Microsoft was happy enough to let Windows 7 and 8 users continue to upgrade at no expense. Our presumption was that bolstered adoption figures for newer versions of Windows were to be welcomed. Apparently, this is no longer a concern for Microsoft (if it ever was – but we can’t imagine why the loophole remained open if it wasn’t).

Anyhow, as we observed above, act quickly if you have been holding off an upgrade, but intend to make the move. You may not have long at all left to pull the trigger.

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ChatGPT will bury Siri for good if Apple doesn’t move fast

Back in 2011, Apple added its Siri voice assistant to any iPhone running iOS 5 and above, and since then, Siri has made its way onto the whole range of Apple’s products.

Technically speaking, Siri’s original developers should get the credit here – many people still don’t know that it was actually a third-party iOS app for just a few months before Apple acquired it, stopping any plans to bring the software to competitor operating systems like Android and Blackberry.

In response, we saw a veritable uprising from the world’s biggest tech companies to try and compete. Microsoft introduced Cortana in 2013, Amazon Alexa joined the fray in 2014, Google with Google Assistant in 2016, and even more recently we’ve seen newcomers like Bixby and Baidu pop up.

As these applications have battled it out, however, a new player has entered the field with an entirely different skill set that could disrupt the voice assistant space completely; ChatGPT.

Spot the difference

Original comic sourced from @pedro_bilohh on Twitter, edited masterfully by yours truly. (Image credit: Future / Twitter @pedro_bilohh)

So let’s get the differences out of the way first. ChatGPT is an incredibly powerful chatbot with a human-like vocabulary bolstered by near-unfettered access to information. Siri and other voice assistants, alternatively, are programmed to be more binary, with set requests and responses that they can understand.

If you were to ask ChatGPT for assistance in writing or problem-solving, or even some more unique use cases, you’re likely to be surprised and delighted by its capabilities. Powered by the same technology, Bing can also comprehend more challenging questions, even if you ask it about love

ChatGPT was created by OpenAI, a company which – as its name suggests – allows its technology to be implemented by other organizations, rather than the closed-source proprietary tech that's found in Siri. This means app developers can easily add ChatGPT to all kinds of interesting and exciting apps.

Siri, however, wouldn’t be able to do the same. It’s great for task assistance, especially when boosted by shortcuts, and for quickly navigating tasks hands-free on your phone. 

However, it’s frustratingly limited in scope beyond this and struggles to deal with more complex requests even in comparison to Alexa, despite Apple's efforts to enhance it over the years. Plus, I still have a bone to pick with how rubbish its voice recognition can be. 

Get with the program, Apple

Microsoft is now stealing the lead in the innovation race with Bing, despite some early teething issues, but Google is hot on its tail. Now, while these are both progressions in the search engine space, it’s only a matter of time before eyes turn to voice assistants.

Siri is used for search, after all – but despite having many years to iterate, search remains one of its most frustrating, clunky features.

Already, keen users are creating ways to embed ChatGPT’s more advanced conversational processing into Siri. It’s far from perfect, and there are some natural, very warranted security and privacy concerns on ChatGPT’s part here, but this eagerness to bolster Siri’s capabilities shows the potential here for Apple to capitalize on. 

So, why is Apple dragging its feet? 

An Apple Watch on a grey background showing an emergency fall detection screen

I wonder if Apple’s fall detection encompasses lagging behind in the innovation race? (Image credit: Apple)

Playing the long game 

For me, there’s only one reason a giant like Apple wouldn’t move with pace to recapture the voice assistant market. Like the great tactician Cruella de Vil, Apple may just be biding its time before striking to recapture the voice assistant market.

“You come to realize, you’ve seen her kind of eyes watching you from underneath a rock”

Disney’s 101 Dalmatians

Apple made a slew of AI acquisitions in recent years that we haven’t seen amount to much, and despite a few small rumors indicating something might be coming, the tech giant has been characteristically reserved since the big Bing and Bard blowup.

My take is that Apple was always planning to release something, but I find it hard to believe ChatGPT and Bing didn’t somewhat blindside it. After all, even Google seemed a little pressed to get Bard up and running quickly in response. As a result, Apple was faced with two choices; rush to join the race, or wait and see how the chips fall. Seemingly, it chose the latter. 

Now, while Apple wouldn’t stand to lose much by biding its time, it could win big if it comes out with a Siri far more capable than anything else on the market – and if we look at the wider Apple ecosystem and progress elsewhere in the tech space, it seems likely that the company is hoping to kick off with a bang. 

Take the smart home space, for example. This year will see Matter, the software standard driving smart home interoperability, begin to really make an impact in people’s homes. If Siri can get the jump on Alexa and Google Assistant, a more conversive and customizable Siri could rocket Apple Home into the lead. Think Disney’s Smart House, but without the murderous vibes. 

We’re just a few months out from WWDC, Apple's developer conference in California, which is an event where the company usually showcases its latest software updates (and launches the odd piece of hardware as well). By the time it rolls around, the dust will have settled somewhat on Google and Microsoft’s forays into AI. So long as Amazon doesn’t step in with its own major Alexa overhaul, this could be the perfect opportunity for Apple to sweep in and steal the limelight – potentially, even, with a much more thoroughly thought-out AI.

Time will tell – but one thing is certain: slow and steady may win the race, but not if you never leave the starting line.

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Web.com has made a major move into the ecommerce game

Popular web hosting and website builder platform Web.com has unveiled  its new ecommerce product.

Built with the same drag-and-drop feature, Web.com’s ecommerce website builder now gives sellers a single location where they can manage all the day-to-day tasks that go with running an online business.

The new product comes with a marketplace manager and links to social media platforms allowing users to reach customers on Instagram, Facebook and other social sites. 

Web.com SMB ecommerce builder 

Available now, the ecommerce platform offers 25, 50 and unlimited eShop pages, each with unlimited email accounts.

Web.com’s Marketplace manager also allows online sellers to reach more customers through popular marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy. Online sellers can now list products and update existing product listings from inside the platform without having to log into separate services.

The essential ecommerce plan for small businesses includes one hour free design support, a free domain and private registration for $ 13.95 per month. Its ecommerce premium plan starts at $ 19.95 per month and includes automated sales tax, multi-currency, and restock/purchase orders.

“For a small business looking to launch an online store, the process can be overwhelming with several moving pieces. Web.com’s new solutions make it easy to get an online store up and running in one place quickly so small businesses can start taking orders from customers,” said Ed Jay, President of Newfold Digital, parent company of Web.com

“Online sellers can quickly launch with Web.com’s intuitive drag-and-drop builder and easily list products from anywhere. Once live, online sellers can leverage the platform’s powerful integrations like the online marketplace manager to reach more customers.”

Through the ecommerce platform, Web.com is also offering 24/7 automated inventory sync technology to show where customers sell. The plan also comes with the assistance from Web.com’s team to help new ecommerce sellers launch their online presence.

“Our new eCommerce platform is backed by an expert support team that is available for customer questions via chat, phone, and email support,” added Jay. “Included in every package is a one-hour professional design consultation, so customers can launch with confidence.” 

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Microsoft looks like it’s going ahead with this unpopular Windows 11 move

Windows 11 could be about to get a watermark on the desktop when installed on a PC which doesn’t meet the official system requirements for the OS.

You may recall that the watermark, which appears above the system tray, bottom-right on the desktop, was previously spotted in limited testing with certain Windows preview builds, but the change has now made its way to beta and release preview builds (version 22000.588) that Windows Insiders use.

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This was highlighted by @XenoPanther, a keen Windows tester on Twitter, and as the move is reportedly now widely deployed to Release Preview, it’s likely only a matter of time before the change debuts on the full version of Windows 11.

This would mean that anyone who has installed Microsoft’s latest OS on a machine that isn’t officially supported by the software will see the warning message. It informs these users: “System requirements not met. Go to Settings to learn more.”


Analysis: Get ready for more restrictions on unsupported PCs

This is no major surprise, as Microsoft has always said that people shouldn’t be running Windows 11 on a machine that isn’t up to the required hardware spec, and has even observed that doing so could ‘damage’ your PC.

A one-line warning watermark is quite annoying and intrusively placed on the desktop, but on the bright side, it could have been worse – meaning that Microsoft isn’t placing major restrictions on Windows 11 with unsupported devices, such as not allowing apps to run, or removing the facility to get vital security updates.

That said, Microsoft has always said that unsupported PCs won’t be able to get updates – even though they still can – but it seems clear enough that eventually, updates will likely get cut off for these devices.

If you have hardware that doesn’t meet the requirements, the idea of allowing Windows 11 to be installed at all is just to give you a flavor of how the OS works – not to let you keep running it permanently. And then if you like it, the theory is that you’ll perform whatever hardware upgrades are necessary (like, for example, a TPM module) to support Windows 11, or at least that’s the impression we’ve always been given.

So, in short, this watermark is likely only the first step towards clamping down on folks who are permanently keeping Windows 11 on unsupported hardware.

Via Windows Latest

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Intel might be about to make a major Linux move

Intel has quietly acquired a German software developer with the aim of bringing fresh life to a key, decades-old Linux kernel project.

In a blog post, vice president and general manager of system software engineering at Intel's Software and Advanced Technology Group, Mark Skarpness revealed that the company had acquired the German firm Linutronix which provides services for Linux-powered industrial systems and also specializes in real-time Linux applications.

While neither Intel nor Linutronix disclosed the financial terms of the deal, the acquisition is a sign that the chip giant wants to further commit to an incredibly important yet often overlooked Linux kernel project. 

According to Intel, Linutronix is the “architect of PREEMPT_RT (Real Time)” and this patch set can be used to make low-latency communication possible between controllers, sensors, robots and tooling and other equipment in real-time industrial applications running on Linux. 

When enabled, PREEMPT_RT changes the way the Linux kernel handles interrupts and locks to allow threads to to get additional time on a CPU core with little latency. As a result, developers can use it to configure the Linux kernel for real-time use-cases without having to worry about out-of-tree patches, new kernel versions or other disruptions resulting from new point releases.

Revitalizing a key Linux kernel project

Despite its usefulness in Linux-powered industrial systems, like other open source software projects, PREEMPT_RT maintained by a small group of core developers. Up until now, the project has lacked enough contributors and funding to be integrated with the main Linux kernel. Still though, companies having been building products that use this patch and the number doing so will likely increase with Intel's backing.

Skarpness provided further details on Intel's plans for Linutronix going forward in his blog post announcing the acquisition, saying:

“By acquiring Linutronix, we are deepening our long-standing relationship with a highly respected team of globally recognized Linux experts, adding to the remarkable breadth and depth of Intel’s hardware and software talent. Linutronix will continue to operate as an independent business within our software division, led by Egger and Gleixner.”

In a statement to The Register, Skarpness confirmed that Intel intends to continue to support the PREEMPT_RT project as the company believes it is a “critical piece of technology that's going to be used in a lot of places”.

We'll likely hear more regarding Linutronix and Intel's plans for PREEMPT_RT once the acquisition is complete.

Via The Register

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