Windows 11 preview shows a File Explorer ready to recommend what you open next

Microsoft is currently rolling out new File Explorer features via Insider Preview Build 23403 on Windows 11 with a big focus on streamlining work.

One of the more interesting features of this package is File Recommendations.  As the name suggests, the File Explorer will begin suggesting which files you should open on the home tab. It appears Microsoft created this tool for business-centric users, at least initially. The tool will only recommend cloud files associated with a particular account, “either owned by the user, or shared with the user.” You also have to be signed in to your Azure Active Directory account otherwise it doesn't work. Additionally, the company is limiting the number of people who will get to try out File Recommendations at this time. Microsoft states it wants to keep a close eye on feedback “before pushing it out to everyone.”

Less restricted are the new Access Keys for File Explorer. They’re simple, single keystroke shortcuts for “quickly [executing] a command.” For example, hitting the “O” key opens a file whereas pressing the “B” key sets it as a desktop background. To use this feature, you’ll have to first click on a file in File Explorer and then press the Menu key on your keyboard to make Access Keys pop up. If you don’t have a Menu key, hitting Shift and F10 at once does the same thing.

File Recommendations on File Explorer

File Recommendations on File Explorer (Image credit: Microsoft)

New updates

Moving past File Explorer, the rest of the features affect other native Windows 11 apps, namely the language side of things. For starters, Live Captions will be available in more languages including Japanese, and French, as well as other English dialects like Australian English. Speaking of which, the Voice Access app will now support those different dialects. Upon activating the app, “you will be prompted to download a speech model” for a specific dialect. Microsoft also redesigned Voice Access to make it more streamlined and easier to use. Each command will now have a description explaining what it does next to an example of how it can be used.

For the rest of the build, it’s all a collection of small tweaks; nothing really major. Changes include a VPN icon now appearing in the System Tray if you have one active, a new copy button for “quickly copying [2FA] codes in notification[s]”, and some bug fixes. If this piques your interest, you can try out Preview Build 23403 by joining the Dev Channel of the Windows 11 Insider Program.

It's worth mentioning that Microsoft has been working on overhauling File Explorer for some time now. It's unknown exactly what it'll have, but we’ve got a few hints like File Explorer being redesigned to make it more user-friendly. However, it’ll probably still be a while until we see the final product. If you don’t feel like waiting til then, be sure to check out our list of the best file managers for Windows

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WhatsApp is ready to help most of you silence annoying spam calls

WhatsApp is taking a more proactive approach to filtering out spam as it may soon begin automatically silencing calls from unknown numbers.

The feature is fittingly called Silence Unknown Callers, according to WABetaInfo, giving users the choice of whether or not they want phone calls from people outside of their contacts. It’ll find its home in the settings menu where it can be toggled on or off at any time. Once activated, WhatsApp will no longer alert users to calls from random numbers, but the Caller ID can still be found in both the calls list and notifications center if you really want to know who it was.

As WABetaInfo points out, Silence Unknown Callers could also be addressing a flaw in WhatsApp’s Communities feature. The problem is anyone in a group can get other people’s numbers pretty easily either by contacting the Community creator or an admin to then start spam calling everyone. On the flip side, the full list of participants in a Community and their numbers are visible to the creator so even they can take advantage of the situation. Reporting and blocking certainly work, however, there’s nothing in the way to stop the first wave of spam; at least for now.

You can try out Silence Unknown Callers yourself by downloading the latest WhatsApp beta for Android which you can do by joining the Google Play Store beta program. It’s unknown at this time whether or not the feature will make its way to iOS nor do we know its official launch date.

In the works

Alongside Silence Unknown Callers, WhatsApp is currently testing a variety of other new features for Android. The big one is a new split view on tablets allowing the chat list to appear when opening a chat, status tabs, or making a call. It looks similar to the browser version of WhatsApp. Additionally, the beta will allow users to try out the redesigned Status tab now supporting Newsletters, the platform’s other big upcoming feature. 

There are a few changes for WhatsApp for iPhones, but they’re a lot less impactful. Arguably the biggest change in the iOS beta is the redesigned chat attachment menu which is already present on the Android app. And a new sticker maker tool that turns images into stickers. Not much for iOS owners right now, but at least you recently got an exclusive picture-in-picture mode for video calls.

Be sure to check out TechRadar’s recently updated list of the best antivirus apps for Android if you want to know how you can boost security. 

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This Microsoft Teams rival you’ve never heard of is ready for expansion

Alibaba has announced some new features for DingTalk, an enterprise-focused alternative to Microsoft Teams that has over 500 million users. 

DingTalk is part of Alibaba Cloud, one of the world's leading cloud providers by market share, and the service combines messaging, task management, audio and video conferencing, live-streaming, real-time translation and more. 

According to The Register, the service is currently available to Chinese SMBs for no cost, and an English language version is also available Malaysia. But now, Alibaba is looking to attract a wider selection of customers, with new avenues for extensibility and additional subscription plans.

The company says the free basic version will remain available as before, alongside three paid tiers with extra features, and a new commission model will be added for software and hardware vendors.

The race for corporate messaging 

Corporate messaging apps have taken off during the pandemic, as almost all businesses moved to an online model for working.

Zoom was the early winner, offering best-in-class video tools, but Microsoft was quick to expand and upgrade Teams, its all-in-one offering, and the company's pre-existing relationship with enterprises was a huge bonus. 

On top of that, a host of other services, such as Slack, have catered to remote needs. 

Given the Chinese internet is distinct from the Western internet, it makes sense that Alibaba – one of its largest companies, alongside Tencent – offers the same services for a domestic audience. 

Alibaba says over 19 million organizations use DingTalk already, a formidable number, and one-third of customers have over 2,000 employees. Around 1.9 million developers offer over 2.4 million add-on features.

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