Microsoft adds Instagram-like filters and AI effects to profile pictures in sneaky upgrade as part of Windows 11 preview build

Windows 11 has a new preview version out, and it introduces a batch of settings relating to user profile pictures, complete with fresh AI tricks to try out. These settings are included in the latest Windows 11 preview in the Canary channel for testers, albeit they are hidden away in Build 26231.

This development was spotted and shared on X by @PhantomOfEarth, who is a keen Windows Insider. As you can see in the screenshot provided by @PhantomOfEarth, the profile picture options are located in a new section of the Accounts page (in Settings) called ‘Your info,’ and they allow you to apply effects and filters to your profile picture.

See more

As noted, they are hidden away in the preview build, and you’ll need to use ViVeTool (a Windows configuration tool) to get them to appear.

As Windows Latest observes, the new customization options and AI effects include the ability to blur your profile picture’s background, add portrait lighting, and upscale the resolution of the image.

There are also filters you can use to give your picture a distinctive appearance, similar to those you might benefit from on apps like Instagram. Windows Latest reports that there are currently six different filters you can try out. As well as those filters, you can also transform your profile picture by rotating it clockwise or anticlockwise, or zooming in closer. 

If you do enable these hidden options in Build 26231, keep in mind that there could still be bugs, as this is all still in testing (and early testing for that matter). We expect that issues will be ironed out when it comes to the final version of the feature, naturally. 

A laptop with the Windows 11 desktop on screen, glowing, while on a work desk

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Ham patipak)

A solid but unexciting addition to Windows 11

This seems a solid enough feature on the face of it, but I can’t say it particularly excites me as a Windows 11 user. Furthermore, I can foresee some people possibly getting annoyed that Microsoft is pushing AI into yet another corner of Windows 11 where it’s not necessarily improving things. It’s a neat enough demonstration of AI-assisted capabilities, but a niche thing really, and I don’t see how it improves Windows 11’s quality-of-life experience for users at its core. 

Other changes that have arrived in this preview build include a new Copy button in Windows Share that lets you copy files to the clipboard more easily, along with the auto-saving of captured recordings in the Windows 11 Snipping Tool. As you’d expect, there are a bunch of bug fixes for existing issues here, too.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft’s full-screen reminders to upgrade to Windows 11 are back for Windows 10 users, and they might be here to stay

Microsoft has taken a new tack with its continued campaign of full-screen banner ads designed to push Windows 10 users to upgrade to Windows 11, and this time, users of suitable and unsuitable PCs – those that don’t meet the hardware requirements for the newest OS – are seeing different adverts. 

Windows 11’s market share has remained relatively static in recent months, and Microsoft is clearly eager to change that, with Windows 10 holding the vast majority of market share with around 70% (according to StatCounter). 

As for Microsoft's latest tactic to drive upgrades, Windows Latest noticed two separate initiatives as mentioned. The first was witnessed on a Windows 10 PC that wasn’t eligible for a Windows 11 upgrade, and it showed a screen warning that the device will stop receiving updates come October 2025, reminding users that their PC can’t run Windows 11. The full-screen notification was titled “A new journey with Windows” and appeared after monthly mandatory security updates were installed, possibly implying that this could be a repeating occurrence.

The notification screen also offers users the ability to be reminded at a later date, and to learn more about the end of support for Windows 10. It links to a support document that encourages you to consider a Windows 11 upgrade, partly by including a comparison of the two operating systems. 

This differed from a PC running Windows 10 and eligible for a straightforward Windows 11 upgrade. On this system, Windows Latest received a notification encouraging them to go ahead and schedule their update or just upgrade right away, alerting them of the upcoming end-of-support date and reminding them to make sure that their device stays supported past that date. This notification has been seen before, of course (a number of times).

Microsoft Store in Windows 10

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft's ambitions vs Windows 10 fans' devotion

Windows 10 continues to be the dominant flavor of Windows and users aren’t happy about being forced to move on or face losing support. Windows 11 was released the best part of three years ago, but it’s still struggling to get near Windows 10’s popularity, as mentioned. Part of the problem here is those hardware requirements, of course, which are a stumbling block for some folks with older PCs.

Users who want to stick with Windows 10 do have a few choices and we’ve recently discussed this in-depth. One option will be to continue getting security updates past Windows 10’s end-of-life date with Microsoft’s Extended Security Update (ESU) program. Currently, this is only available for commercial customers, but Windows Latest asserts that a version for individual consumers will arrive later in 2024. Currently, an ESU license for a single device is $ 61 a year for businesses, but the price doubles every year (for up to three years). 

Windows 10 users are faced with three primary options in the longer term: upgrade to Windows 11, continue to use Windows 10 without crucial security updates (not a good idea at all), or opt into a pricey extended security update plan. I understand Windows 10 users’ frustrations as many are not sold on Windows 11 as being an improvement in quality. Additionally, many users aren’t keen on Microsoft’s insistence on integrating AI into many apps and parts of the operating system, and Windows 10 still looks and feels like a modern, up-to-date OS. Furthermore, there are those hardware requirements to consider, as already noted. 

I don’t know how well Microsoft will weather this transition, but the company needs to walk a fine line between reminding users about the reality of Windows 10 running out of support, and getting too pushy with all these notifications. Right now, it feels like Microsoft is erring (again) towards the latter, but I don’t see the company backing down.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

ChatGPT’s free tier just got a massive upgrade – so stop paying for ChatGPT Plus

Following its GPT-4o announcement during its Spring Update event, OpenAI has finally made its new AI tools available for free to everyone, begging the question: Is there any point paying for ChatGPT?

With ChatGPT-4o, all users can now access more advanced tools like discussing files and photos you upload to ChatGPT. The generative AI can also conduct data analysis and create charts, and it can access the internet to inform its responses. 

However, with all of these features rolling out to everyone – even if they come with usage limits for non-paying users – there’s a big question of if people should stay subscribed to OpenAI’s premium tier for ChatGPT.

It’s not like ChatGPT Plus has become entirely obsolete. Subscribers still have exclusive features like the ability to create custom GPTs, higher usage rate limits with 4o, and first access to new features – this includes early access to Voice Mode when it launches “in the coming weeks.”

But it’s understandable why subscribers feel a little burned. They’re paying $ 20 (around £16 / AU$ 30) per month for a service that’s not that different from the free one. Unless you’re an AI power user, now’s seemingly a terrible time to sign up for ChatGPT Plus.

Thinking long term

A close up of ChatGPT on a phone, with the OpenAI logo in the background of the photo

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Daniel Chetroni)

So why would OpenAI want to make its premium service less appealing? Well, there are two prevailing theories.

The far-fetched one is that OpenAI will soon release an early version of GPT-5, or at least some kind of exciting new features that’ll be exclusive to its paid members beyond the voiced version of ChatGPT. It’s not out of the question, though this feels like something OpenAI would have mentioned during its Spring Update event on May 13, so color us skeptical.

The likely reason is that OpenAI is changing track to focus on bringing in as many users as possible, rather than paid ones, at least for now.

That’s because a report recently revealed that hardly any of us use ChatGPT and other AI tools in our day-to-day lives. If OpenAI wants people to get excited by its tools it can’t then lock the best features away behind a paywall.

What’s more, ChatGPT’s rivals – like the Meta AI and Google Gemini – are free to use and offer many of the same premium tools at no cost. If it’s already a struggle to get people to use AI when it’s free, you can bet it’s significantly harder with a paywall in the way.

We’ll have to wait and see if ChatGPT Plus gets any improvements in the coming weeks, but if you’re currently subscribed (or thinking of joining) you might want to hold off for now.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Upgrade to Windows 11 or take the risk: Microsoft warns about Windows 10’s end-of-life date once again

Windows 10 might hold a share of around 70% of the overall Windows user base, but that’s not making Microsoft flinch when it comes to its plans to deprecate the fan-favorite operating system. The date when Windows 10 is going to stop receiving support and new updates has been set (it’s October 14, 2025), and current Windows 10 users are being reminded again. 

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has prodded users to upgrade to Windows 11 – far from it. Previously the company has shown full-screen multi-page reminders, and now, Microsoft has added an official web page detailing the inevitable.

The new ‘End of support’ page offers Microsoft’s advice and recommendations for transitioning to Windows 11 if you’re running Windows 10 (or an older Windows version than that like Windows 8.1 or Windows 7). 

Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 have already been ditched and haven’t been receiving updates for a long time, and Windows 10 will join them next year. The official page goes into detail about what will happen when support ends and what users can expect. 

The Windows 10-specific page has a prominent banner urging users to upgrade to Windows 11 for free if their PC is eligible. Microsoft also explains that Windows 10 users will no longer receive security or technical updates after October 2025. Their PCs will continue to work, but they won't get security updates and will be left open to potential security exploits, and so Microsoft recommends that they move on to Windows 11 (if their hardware allows the upgrade).

The dedicated transition page also has other linked pages detailing Windows 11’s features and how they’re an apparent improvement on Windows 10, as well as a straightforward comparison page between the two operating systems. There’s a page that even takes you through the process of how to shop for a new laptop, should you wish to upgrade to Windows 11 on a new device, and how you can back up your data on OneDrive to make sure you don’t lose it when you transition to a new machine. 

Microsoft is pretty insistent that you will need to get a device capable of running Windows 11, preferably a new one and, if you really want to make Microsoft happy, you can go for one of its brand new next-gen Copilot+ PCs

Microsoft presenting Surface Laptop and Surface Pro devices.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

So, what's next for Windows 10 users?

Windows 10 users who don’t want to migrate to Windows 11 will be faced with a difficult choice – switch to an alternative OS entirely (like Linux), or stick with Windows 10 and open up their PC to possible malware and security holes that don’t get resolved by updates after October 2025. These users will also not see any new features for their system or apps introduced through updates.

The other choice is to continue receiving critical security updates for Windows 10 by opting in for the Extended Security Updates (ESU) program for the operating system. It's intended to be a permanent fix, and its purpose is to offer a temporary solution. This is mainly for organizations and businesses while they transition to a newer operating system.

The pricing plans for individual users opting for the ESU program haven’t been revealed yet, but Windows Latest has learned that Microsoft will share this information later in the year. Businesses will pay $ 61 per device for year one (and that price will increase every year).

Many people just prefer Windows 10 to Windows 11, but there are also folks whose devices don’t meet the hardware requirements to run Microsoft’s newest OS. While there are workarounds for some PCs to fudge an installation of Windows 11, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend that course of action (and neither is it suitable for the less tech-savvy out there).

Microsoft might be eager for people to move on to its shiny new AI-driven Copilot+ PCs, but many people can’t afford a new computer right now, and, for the time being, Windows 10 works perfectly well. A lot of people aren’t that keen on Windows 11 either, due to some of its performance issues, perceived flaws in the operating system’s design, and Microsoft’s persistent effort to integrate AI features into multiple parts of the OS. 

I don’t know if Microsoft will be successful in converting more users to Windows 11 and its new line-up of PCs, but Windows 10 fans are reluctant to move on just yet. As to whether that will change next year, we’ll just have to see, but Windows 11 adoption appears to have stalled recently, so it’s not looking great for Microsoft. That said, Windows is still the most widely used desktop operating system in the world, and there’s no threat to its dominance that will mean Microsoft feels the heat in any meaningful way – for now.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Amazon Alexa’s next-gen upgrade could turn the assistant into a generative AI chatbot

Rumors started circulating earlier this year claiming Amazon was working on improving Alexa by giving it new generative AI features. Since then, we haven’t heard much about it until very recently when CNBC spoke to people familiar with the project’s development. The new reporting provided insight into what the company aims to do with the upgraded Alexa, how much it may cost, and the reason why Amazon is doing this.

CNBC’s sources were pretty tight-lipped. They didn’t reveal exactly what the AI will be able, but they did mention the tech giant’s goals. Amazon wants its developers to create something “that holds up amid the new AI competition,” referring to the likes of ChatGPT. Company CEO Andy Jazzy was reportedly “underwhelmed” with the modern-day Alexa and he isn’t the only one who wants the assistant to do more. Reportedly, the dev team is seemingly worried the model currently amounts to just being an “expensive alarm clock.”

To facilitate the new direction, Amazon reorganized major portions of its business within the Alexa team, shifting focus toward achieving artificial general intelligence. 

AGI is a concept from science fiction, but it’s the idea that an AI model may one day match or surpass the intelligence of a human being. Despite their lofty goals, Amazon seems to be starting small by wanting to create its own chatbot with generative capabilities. 

The sources state, “Amazon will use its own large language model, Titan, in the Alexa upgrade.” Titan is only available to businesses as a part of Amazon Bedrock. It can generate text, create images, summarize documents, and more for enterprise users, similar to other AIs. Following this train of thought, the new Alexa could offer the same features to regular, non-enterprising users.

Potential costs

Previous reports have said Amazon plans to charge people for access to the supercharged Alexa; however, the cost or plan structure were unknown. Now, we’re learning Amazon is planning to launch the Alexa upgrade as a subscription service completely separate from Prime, meaning people will have to pay extra to try out the AI, according to this new report.

Apparently, there’s been debate on exactly how much to charge. Amazon has yet to nail down the monthly fee. One of the sources told CNBC that “a $ 20 price point was floated” around at one point while someone else suggested dropping costs down to “single-digit dollar [amounts].” So, in other words, less than $ 10, which would allow the brand to undercut rivals. OpenAI, for example, charges $ 20 a month for its Plus plan.

There is no word on when Alexa’s update will launch or even be formally announced. But if and when it does come out, it might be the first chatbot accessible through an Amazon smart speaker like the Echo Pop

We did reach out to the company to see if it wanted to make a statement about CNBC’s report. We’ll update this story if we hear back.

Til then, check out TechRadar's roundup of the best smart speakers for 2024.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Google Search is getting a massive upgrade – including letting you search with video

Google I/O 2024's entire two-hour keynote was devoted to Gemini. Not a peep was uttered for the recently launched Pixel 8a or what Android 15 is bringing upon release. The only times a smartphone or Android was mentioned is how they are being improved by Gemini

The tech giant is clearly going all-in on the AI, so much so that the stream concludes by boldly displaying the words “Welcome to the Gemini era”. 

Among all the updates that were presented at the event, Google Search is slated to gain some of the more impressive changes. You could even argue that the search engine will see one of the most impactful upgrades in 2024 that it’s ever received in its 25 years as a major tech platform. Gemini gives Google Search a huge performance boost, and we can’t help but feel excited about it.

Below is a quick rundown of all the new features Google Search will receive this year.

1. AI Overviews

Google IO 2024

(Image credit: Google)

The biggest upgrade coming to the search engine is AI Overviews which appears to be the launch version of SGE (Search Generative Experience). It provides detailed, AI-generated answers to inquiries. Responses come complete with contextually relevant text as well as links to sources and suggestions for follow-up questions.

Starting today, AI Overviews is leaving Google Labs and rolling out to everyone in the United States as a fully-fledged feature. For anyone who used the SGE, it appears to be identical. 

Response layouts are the same and they’ll have product links too. Google has presumably worked out all the kinks so it performs optimally. Although when it comes to generative AI, there is still the chance it could hallucinate.

There are plans to expand AI Overviews to more countries with the goal of reaching over a billion people by the end of 2024. Google noted the expansion is happening “soon,” but an exact date was not given.

2. Video Search

Google IO 2024

(Image credit: Google)

AI Overviews is bringing more to Google Search than just detailed results. One of the new features allows users to upload videos to the engine alongside a text inquiry. At I/O 2024, the presenter gave the example of purchasing a record player with faulty parts. 

You can upload a clip and ask the AI what's wrong with your player, and it’ll provide a detailed answer mentioning the exact part that needs to be replaced, plus instructions on how to fix the problem. You might need a new tone arm or a cueing lever, but you won't need to type in a question to Google to get an answer. Instead you can speak directly into the video and send it off.

Searching With Video will launch for “Search Labs users in English in the US,” soon with plans for further expansion into additional regions over time. 

3. Smarter AI

Google IO 2024

(Image credit: Google)

Next, Google is introducing several performance boosts; however, none of them are available at the moment. They’ll be rolling out soon to the Search Labs program exclusively to people in the United States and in English. 

First, you'll be able to click one of two buttons at the top to simplify an AI Overview response or ask for more details. You can also choose to return to the original answer at any time.

Second, AI Overviews will be able to understand complex questions better than before. Users won’t have to ask the search engine multiple short questions. Instead, you can enter one long inquiry – for example, a user can ask it to find a specific yoga studio with introductory packages nearby.

Lastly, Google Search can create “plans” for you. This can be either a three-day meal plan that’s easy to prepare or a vacation itinerary for your next trip. It’ll provide links to the recipes plus the option to replace dishes you don't like. Later down the line, the planning tool will encompass other topics like movies, music, and hotels.

All about Gemini

That’s pretty much all of the changes coming to Google Search in a nutshell. If you’re interested in trying these out and you live in the United States, head over to the Search Labs website, sign up for the program, and give the experimental AI features a go. You’ll find them near the top of the page.

Google I/O 2024 dropped a ton of information on the tech giant’s upcoming AI endeavors. Project Astra, in particular, looked very interesting, as it can identify objects, code on a monitor, and even pinpoint the city you’re in just by looking outside a window. 

Ask Photos was pretty cool, too, if a little freaky. It’s an upcoming Google Photos tool capable of finding specific images in your account much faster than before and “handle more in-depth queries” with startling accuracy.

If you want a full breakdown, check out TechRadar's list of the seven biggest AI announcements from Google I/O 2024.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Windows 11 users, watch out – you’re in for an upgrade you can’t ignore thanks to mandatory adverts

Microsoft seems intent on making ads disguised as recommendations a fact of life in Windows 11, and the tech giant has apparently begun testing promotional recommendation pages that take up your whole screen, urging users to install Edge and other services – similar to the page you see when you first set up your device or install Windows 11.

Thinking back, I recall a few times when this screen appeared on my own Windows 11 PC after an update, and it caught me off guard as my PC is already set up to my liking. Like myself, some users would be greeted with “Let’s finish setting up your PC” automatically after a Windows Update had been installed. Before this, this sort of notification might appear if you bought a PC and set it up for the first time, but now it looks like anyone already up and running could also see it. 

Man sitting at a table and looking at a laptop, holding one hand in the other in front of his face and looking concerned

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Space_Cat)

A breakdown of the new notification in Windows 11

The new notification screens were spotted by Windows Latest following Microsoft’s monthly Patch Tuesday update in April 2024. As shown in a screenshot provided in Windows Latest’s report, the notification screen explains that the ‘set-up’ process will involve backing up your files using OneDrive, restoring “Microsoft recommended settings” (read: setting Edge as your default browser), backing up your phone on your PC, setting up Windows Hello, as well as getting a Microsoft 365 subscription, and turning on Phone Link between your phone and PC.

You are then given two options, neither of which is to opt out of the notification if you’re not interested. You can choose to “Continue” or select “Remind me in 3 days,” and the pop-ups will eventually return. Windows Latest tried the ‘Continue’ option, which led to a “Let’s customize your experience” page which prompts users to customize their Start menu’s ‘Recommended’ section. As shown in a provided screenshot, users would be given some control over the apps that appear in this section. 

If you decide not to make any adjustments you’ll be guided to a page with the heading “Use recommended browser settings.” The top option, not by coincidence, is Microsoft Edge – Windows 11’s default browser. This is accompanied by Bing as the default search engine, which again no surprise. Enabling these also pins the Edge icon to the taskbar and creates a desktop icon (if you’ve removed these). Luckily, if you’re not interested in using Microsoft’s web browser and search engine, you can click on “Don’t update your settings,” (which sounds like you’re getting left behind), and you can keep your previous settings. 

Woman standing in a room at night time with a backdrop of a city, while holding a laptop and using it with one hand

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Gorodenkoff)

A closer look at Microsoft's promotional tactics

This isn’t the first of Microsoft’s heavy-handed attempts to get people to use its software and services, and not the first to be met with distaste from users. As Windows Latest points out, Edge already comes preinstalled, and it’s difficult to remove for users running Windows 11 outside of Europe. 

If you make it through all of these option screens and have any patience left, you’ll be met with more promotional pages for other Microsoft services, like the offer to try Microsoft 365 Family with a free trial. You could forgo this and subscribe to Microsoft 365 Basic, which includes ad-free OneDrive and Outlook, along with 100GB of cloud storage. In the screenshot that Windows Latest includes, no prices are stated – just a ‘Continue’ button. After this page, users are urged to set up Microsoft’s Phone Link app, which works in a similar way to Apple’s AirDrop feature, and allows you to access data on a linked Android phone on your PC.

Each page does at least have an option to skip that particular step and finish the PC setup process, but this is strange wording, because as I mentioned earlier when I saw the notification, and as Windows Latest stated while documenting this process, our PCs were already set up to our liking.

This has been happening in parallel with Microsoft adding ads disguised as recommendations in the Start menu and experimenting with adding Xbox Game Pass ads on the Settings page. I don’t like this direction for Microsoft, and if it’s not careful, it could end up annoying users rather than encouraging them to try out the software.  We live in a time when people’s attention spans can be short, but frustrations and annoyance can live in people’s minds for a pretty long time. 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

A key Apple app is rumored to be getting a major upgrade in macOS 15

We're set to hear much more about what's coming with macOS 15 when Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) gets underway on June 10 – and one app in particular is rumored to be getting a major upgrade.

That app is the Calculator app, and while it perhaps isn't the most exciting piece of software that Apple makes, AppleInsider reckons the upcoming upgrade is “the most significant upgrade” the app has been given “in years”.

It's so substantial, it's got its own codename: GreyParrot (that's said to be a nod towards the African grey parrot, known for its cognitive abilities). Part of the upgrade will apparently include the Math Notes feature we've already heard about in relation to a Notes app upgrade due in iOS 18.

It sounds as though Math Notes is going to make it easier to ferry calculations between the Notes and the Calculator apps. A new sidebar showing the Calculator history is reported to be on the way too. This might well get its own button on the app, AppleInsider says.

Currency conversions

Calculator for macOS

Currency conversions currently require a pop-up dialog (Image credit: Future)

A visual redesign is also apparently on the way, with “rounded buttons and darker shades of black” to match the iOS Calculator. Users will also be able to resize the Calculator app window, with the buttons resizing accordingly, which isn't currently possible.

Unit conversion is going to be made more intuitive and easier to access, AppleInsider says, with no need to open up the menus to select conversion types – at the moment, it's necessary to select currencies in a pop-up dialog.

The thinking is that Apple wants to better compete with apps such as OneNote from Microsoft, and the third-party Calcbot app for macOS. It's been a long time since the Calculator app was changed in any way, and its rather basic feature set means it's lagging behind other alternatives.

According to AppleInsider, there's no guarantee that Apple will go through with this Calculator upgrade, but it seems likely. Expect to hear much more about macOS 15, iOS 18, and Apple's other software products at WWDC 2024 on June 10.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Meta’s recent Quest 3 update includes a secret AI upgrade for mixed reality

Meta’s VR headsets recently received update v64, which according to Meta added several improvements to their software – such as better-quality mixed-reality passthrough in the case of the Meta Quest 3 (though I didn’t see a massive difference after installing the update on my headset).

It’s now been discovered (first by Twitter user @Squashi9) that the update also included another upgrade for Meta’s hardware, with Space Scan, the Quest 3’s room scanning feature, getting a major buff thanks to AI.

The Quest 3’s Space Scan is different to its regular boundary scan, which sets up your safe play space for VR. Instead, Space Scan maps out your room for mixed-reality experiences, marking out walls, floors, and ceilings so that experiences are correctly calibrated.

You also have the option to add and label furniture, but you had to do this part manually until update v64 rolled out. Now, when you do a room scan your Quest 3 will automatically highlight and label furniture – and based on my tests it works flawlessly.

Annoyingly, the headset wouldn’t let me take screenshots of the process, so you’ll have to trust me when I say that every piece of furniture was not only picked up by the scan and correctly marked out, it was also labelled accurately – it even picked up on my windows and doors, which I wasn’t expecting.

The only mistake I spotted was that a chair I have in my living room was designated a 'couch', though this seems to be more an issue with Meta’s lack of more specific labels than with Space Scan’s ability to detect what type of object each item of furniture is.

Post by @edwardrichardmiller
View on Threads

This feature isn’t a complete surprise, as Reality Labs showed a version of it off on Threads in March. What is surprising, however, is how quickly it’s been rolled out after being unveiled – though I’m not complaining, considering how well it works and how easy it makes scanning your room. 

So what? 

Adding furniture has a use for MR and VR apps. Tables can be used by apps like Horizon Workrooms as designated desks, while sitting down in or getting up from a designated couch will change your VR experience between a standing or seated mode.

Meanwhile, some apps can use the detected doors, windows, walls, and furniture such as a bookshelf to adjust how mixed-reality experiences interact with your space.

With Meta making it less tedious to add these data points, app developers have more of a reason to take furniture into account when designing VR and MR experiences, which should lead to them feeling more immersive.

This also gives Meta a leg up over the Apple Vision Pro, as it’s not yet able to create a room scan that’s as detailed as the one found on Meta’s hardware – though until software starts to take real advantage of this feature it’s not that big a deal.

We’ll have to wait and see what comes of this improvement, but if you’ve already made a space scan or two on your Quest 3 you might want to redo them, as the new scans should be a lot more accurate.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

ChatGPT’s newest GPT-4 upgrade makes it smarter and more conversational

AI just keeps getting smarter: another significant upgrade has been pushed out for ChatGPT, its developer OpenAI has announced, and specifically to the GPT-4 Turbo model available to those paying for ChatGPT Plus, Team, or Enterprise.

OpenAI says ChatGPT will now be better at writing, math, logical reasoning, and coding – and it has the charts to prove it. The release is labeled with the date April 9, and it replaces the GPT-4 Turbo model that was pushed out on January 25.

Judging by the graphs provided, the biggest jumps in capabilities are in mathematics and GPQA, or Graduate-Level Google-Proof Q&A – a benchmark based on multiple-choice questions in various scientific fields.

According to OpenAI, the new and improved ChatGPT is “more direct” and “less verbose” too, and will use “more conversational language”. All in all, a bit more human-like then. Eventually, the improvements should trickle down to non-paying users too.

More up to date

See more

In an example given by OpenAI, AI-generated text for an SMS intended to RSVP to a dinner invite is half the length and much more to the point – with some of the less essential words and sentences chopped out for simplicity.

Another important upgrade is that the training data ChatGPT is based on now goes all the way up to December 2023, rather than April 2023 as with the previous model, which should help with topical questions and answers.

It's difficult to test AI chatbots from version to version, but in our own experiments  with ChatGPT and GPT-4 Turbo we found it does now know about more recent events – like the iPhone 15 launch. As ChatGPT has never held or used an iPhone though, it's nowhere near being able to offer the information you'd get from our iPhone 15 review.

The momentum behind AI shows no signs of slowing down just yet: in the last week alone Meta has promised human-like cognition from upcoming models, while Google has made its impressive AI photo-editing tools available to more users.

You might also like

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More