WhatsApp beta introduces AI assistant to chats – here’s how it works

As part of a recent beta, WhatsApp is giving select mobile users access to Meta’s new AI-powered chat rooms.

If you don’t remember, Meta announced during its Connect 2023 event that it was working on an “in-app assistant” for several of its platforms. The tech functions similarly to Bing Chat as you can ask it questions or engage “in some light conversation” with it. What’s more, the company revealed you can also give the AI a unique personality with each one based on a famous celebrity. For example, the Dungeon Master persona will guide you through a choose-your-own-adventure game and will have a video feed of rapper Snoop Dogg. It won't, however, imitate his speech patterns or mannerisms. It's solely the AI that Meta developed.

We don’t know when this WhatsApp feature will officially launch. WABetaInfo reports, however, that both iOS and Android users can try out a beta version of the tech. The former was recently released while the latter has been available since November 17. On top of introducing the in-app assistant, the update places the AI-powered conversations right on the Chats tab for quick access.

How to use WhatsApp's new AI assistant

Android owners who are interested must first join the Google Play Beta Program and install the WhatsApp Beta app on their devices. For iPhone users, we would normally direct people to join the TestFlight Beta Program. Unfortunately, the WhatsApp Beta on iOS is closed. It hasn’t had an open slot for the past two and a half years, at the time of this writing. 

Worry not because we have access to the AI assistant on Android and we’ll show you what it’s like. Upon launching WhatsApp, tap the green Chat icon in the lower right corner, then select New AI chat.

WhatsApp create an AI assistant

(Image credit: Future)

On the following page, you will see every single persona currently available. We’ll select the base Meta AI for now. There, it’ll suggest some topics of discussion to start things off like what are the most popular shows on Netflix? The assistant will respond by giving recommendations while also linking to its source. You can see in the image below it got the information from TechRadar’s list of the best Netflix shows. From here, you can continue the conversation however you like.

WhatsApp AI Assistant making recommendations

(Image credit: Future)

How to try out WhatsApp's AI personas

If you want a specific personality, you can choose from a variety across different categories like Sports, Pop culture, and Advice. In this example, we’ll choose the Dungeon Master mentioned earlier. It’ll provide content suggestions at the start such as creating a playable character in the story. Each persona comes with a celebrity or actor emoting in real-time. You can move the feed around to the four corners of the screen, but you can’t get rid of it. It’s a permanent fixture.

WhatsApp's Dungeon Master AI

(Image credit: Future)

Once you’re done, you can find the AI conversations in the main Chat tab on your WhatsApp account on mobile. Or you can even continue conversing with the personas on WhatsApp for desktop. Each one can be found in the left-hand menu with the rest of your chat rooms. 

WhatsApp AI assistant on desktop

(Image credit: Future)

Keep in mind you cannot create an assistant on a desktop. The update is strictly for mobile only although it does invertedly reveal this feature will be available outside of smartphones in some form. It’s unknown at this time if this patch is widely available. WABetaInfo does claim Meta has plans to expand the AI personas “to a wider audience in the future”, but doesn’t provide any further details.

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Windows 11 successor could already be in the works

Windows 11 could be replaced by Windows 12, and Microsoft might start work on the new operating system as soon as next month, according to the rumor mill.

So, first off, don’t just put your skeptical hat on for this one – maybe also don a cardigan of caution, and, er, waistcoat of wariness – because this is seriously sketchy speculation.

It comes from German tech site Deskmodder.de, as spotted by Tom’s Hardware (which notes that what appeared to be a corroborating tweet from Swift on Security turned out to be a joke – a pretty obvious one too – though the original rumor still stands). According to the site’s inside source, Microsoft will begin work on the successor to Windows 11 in March.

Deskmodder observes that Microsoft has already been recruiting staff to work on this theoretical Windows 12, but that the OS could still be a long way off, because it’s being built from ‘scratch’ or close to it.

Yes, the other main claim here is that while Windows 11 is still very much Windows 10 under the hood in many ways, Windows 12 will be a very different beast from the ground-up. Apply more caution at this point, naturally…

Analysis: How likely is Windows 12, really?

If this is the case as outlined above, and we’re looking at an all-new version of Windows, possibly called Windows 12, then it will indeed be a long way down the road. It’s obviously a major undertaking to build the OS effectively from ‘scratch’, or at least to revamp it with a completely different core to that shared by Windows 10 and 11.

This isn’t a rumor we’re convinced by, in all honesty, and we’ll need to hear it from more sources than Deskmodder before we begin to be sold on the idea that there is a next-gen Windows that work is literally about to begin on. Though if that is the case, obviously we will hear further rumors soon enough, so we can expect to know more of the truth behind this speculation without much of a wait.

What could, of course, be happening here is that someone has the wrong end of the stick somewhere, and while a big project may be about to kick off in March at Microsoft, that may simply be the next major incarnation of Windows 11.

Ultimately, this is all guesswork, but we wouldn’t really expect a Windows 12 to be in the pipeline for anything like the near future. But then again, we didn’t expect Windows 11 either (mainly because Microsoft had said Windows 10 was the final version, ever).

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A note-taking app that works like iMessage shouldn’t work, but it does

Every week I’m sent apps that are meant to help or solve a situation for users that haven’t been done before. But I was sent a particular app this week that made me rethink how a note-taking app should work.

Created by Rihab Mehboob, Note Yourself was released this week (January 20) for iOS and macOS devices that use the Apple Silicon chips, where you can note down your thoughts and your plans, but in a chat interface.

You may think, as I did at the start, that this sounds like a combination that simply can’t work. It sounds like having sugar on your Weetabix, or playing Banjo Kazooie on an iPad. But the more I’ve used Note Yourself, the more I’ve been impressed.

You’re brought to a layout that looks as though you’re going to start a conversation with yourself, and you can jot down something that you can set to remind you after a certain amount of time. You can also pin some of these entries to easily go back to, all in a very simple but elegant layout.

I’ve been using the app already for a shopping list at the weekend, and, unashamedly, the daily tasks I need to complete for Fortnite. It wasn’t long before I promoted the icon to my main home screen on my iPhone, and after speaking to some of the TechRadar team alongside some family, I was surprised to find that some do indeed jot down notes by sending messages to themselves over WhatsApp, WeChat, and iMessage. Is this the app they, and so many others, have been waiting for?

And when you consider a messaging layout with notes, could the same logic be applied to a music app? Or a storefront? It’s apps like Note Yourself that feel fresh, 14 years since the App Store first appeared, and it makes me wonder what other apps could be coming in 2022. I reached out to Mehboob to ask what made him design Note Yourself in the first place.

A chat with Note Yourself’s developer

I spoke with Mehboob after last night’s launch to ask why he thought this layout would work better for a notes app. “To keep track of various tasks, I used to message myself through iMessage, and after realizing I could make a dedicated app, with many features, I began making this app,” Mehboob explains. “I personally really like the idea of themed apps, where an app takes the style of another genre – and I think this was a great demonstration of that.”

Note Yourself

(Image credit: Rihab Mehboob)

After trying out many apps in this category over the years, I wanted to know why he thought this stood out, apart from the different layout. “It may not be as serious or feature-filled as some great note-taking apps, but it's a fun attempt at changing things up.” Mehboob continues. “I really like the UI/UX myself, and I love adding interesting features like the new iOS 15 Communication Notifications (to make it seem as if the notes you are receiving are being sent by others) and pinned messages, which to stand out I decided to make it seem as if the note is being sent by you as opposed to being sent to you.”

Note Yourself on iPhone

(Image credit: Rihab Mehboob)

Using the app for reminders – thanks to the message notification feature – I can receive a slight nudge between 1 minute and 24 hours, similar to someone messaging me back. I asked Mehoob what other situations this could be used for.

“In fairness, they could be used in any situation! If you want some motivation, they could be used to act as if others are giving commands or letting you know what tasks are left.”

Already I’m using Message Yourself as an alternative note-taking app for sudden to-do lists, but there’s plenty of opportunity for improvements. I wanted to know what was coming up next for features.

“I’m currently attempting to add Siri Shortcuts, where you could let Siri know of any tasks or notes you might want to jot down but do let me know what you’d like to see.”

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What is Microsoft Teams? How it works, best features, and other resources

Microsoft Teams is a collaboration and video conferencing platform that helps people communicate effectively across a number of different mediums. 

The service allows users to communicate via text chat, voice or video call and also benefits from synergies with various other Microsoft 365 services, such as OneDrive and PowerPoint.

Although Teams started out as a business application, Microsoft has recently pushed the platform as a consumer service too and, accordingly, has built it into the heart of its new Windows 11 OS.

The free version of Microsoft Teams offers a generous feature set that will be sufficient for many individuals and small businesses, while a paid version is available for larger organizations after a more comprehensive solution.

Microsoft Teams clients are available on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS, so employees can communicate using pretty much any device.

Cut to the chase

What is it? A collaboration and video conferencing service
What platforms is it on? All major operating systems
How much does it cost? Depends on the plan, but a free version is available
Who is the target audience? Predominantly business users, but regular consumers too

Free version or paid?

The free version of Microsoft Teams boasts all the features employees will need to collaborate remotely and could be a perfectly suitable option for smaller businesses.

Unlimited text chat and search, group video conferencing, one-on-one video calls, 2GB of cloud storage per person (or 10GB across the entire team) and access to web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote all come free of charge.

However, the free version of Microsoft Teams lacks a few important security and administration facilities – such as enforced multi-factor authentication, single sign-on and user management – that most businesses are likely to need.

If you’re looking to upgrade your Microsoft Teams subscription, there are three options available: Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

Microsoft 365 Business Basic is available for $ 5.00 per user per month (£3.80/AU$ 6.90), and includes the ability to schedule and record Microsoft Teams meetings, boosts the file storage capacity to 1TB per user and includes the additional security features mentioned above.

Office 365 Business Standard, meanwhile, costs $ 12.50 per user per month (£9.40/AU$ 17.20). It features all the benefits of the cheaper package, but also includes desktop versions of Microsoft’s famous productivity applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc.) and business apps such as Bookings, Invoicing and MileIQ.

Finally, Office 365 Premium adds advanced security and privacy features, as well as a greater range of device management options. This package will run your business $ 20.00 per user per month (£15.10/AU$ 27.50).

(Image credit: Shutterstock / dennizn)

Download Microsoft Teams

To download Microsoft Teams to your device, simply follow this link to the Microsoft Teams download page.

From here, you can download the Microsoft Teams app for desktop or mobile, or you can enter your email address in the relevant field and Microsoft will deliver a download link directly.

Those looking to download Microsoft Teams mobile app can also navigate to the relevant app store on their device, be that Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

Microsoft Teams features

Microsoft Teams offers all the core collaboration features, from high-quality video conferencing to phone calls, text chat and group messaging.

When it comes to the in-meeting experience, the service provides users with a variety of tools, such as custom and blurred backgrounds, different viewing modes, breakout rooms and text chat. Users can also share their screen during presentations, making it easier for audience members to follow along.

Teams allows meetings to be recorded, which means people unable to attend can catch up on anything they missed. And since the start of the pandemic, Microsoft has introduced a few important accessibility features too, such as live captions and transcription.

What sets Teams apart from its competitors, however, is its position within the wider Microsoft 365 suite of apps and services. For example, Teams is intertwined closely with OneDrive and SharePoint, making file-sharing easy and intuitive. An upcoming PowerPoint integration, meanwhile, is set to make managing notes during presentations and engaging with the audience less challenging.

Microsoft Teams

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Ink Drop)


When it comes to video conferencing security, end-to-end encryption (E2EE) is considered the holy grail.

Under this system, communication between meeting participants is encrypted using cryptographic keys held only on users’ devices. This means no third party, including the service provider, has access to the keys to decrypt private meeting data.

Microsoft Teams was relatively slow on the uptake where E2EE is concerned. Only recently has E2EE entered general availability for Teams calls, and even then it requires a number of features to be disabled.

That said, Microsoft has taken strong steps to prevent a practice known as “Zoombombing”, whereby an uninvited individual invades and disrupts a meeting. And the company has also added a handy disable video function that should help limit disruptions caused by legitimate attendees.

According to the Microsoft website, Teams also enforces two-factor authentication and encryption of data in transit and at rest. To ensure customers remain compliant with relevant regulations, meanwhile, Microsoft lets users make choices about the location of the data centers used to process their data in transit.


As for customer service, Microsoft offers pretty much all avenues of support you might expect – with the exception of a live chat service.

The first port of call should be the extensive knowledge base, but otherwise users can seek further help via Microsoft 365 support channels, which include an online form, phone support and a dedicated Get Help app.

Microsoft Teams has native clients for all the major operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS. Attendees can also join sessions via web browser if they please.

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Two Silent Hill games are reportedly in the works

It's been hiding in the shadows for years now, but could the Silent Hill franchise of horror games be about to make a return?

That's the suggestion made by Twitter leaker Aesthetic Gamer, who has previously accurately shared early details on both the Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil 3 remakes from Capcom.

According to the tweets, Silent Hill developers Konami have invited pitches for two separate Silent Hill games – one a familiar 'soft-reboot' of the franchise, and the other a more narrative-driven episodic title in the same vein as the Telltale games and Until Dawn horror series from Supermassive Games.

"In other news while I'm dropping this stuff, and I think I can talk about this, I'll mention there is a couple new Silent Hill games in the works," Aesthetic Gamer said. 

"Konami about two years ago reached out to various developers to pitch ideas for two Silent Hill games, one a soft-reboot of the franchise, the other an episodic TellTale/Until Dawn-style game to go alongside the reboot. I don't know anything more than that though, but I sure do hope Konami's given it the appropriate budget and found the right developer to make those games succeed.

"This is just a guess, but I'd say there's a high chance one or both of those titles may be revealed this year, but we'll see. I don't actually know their plans or anything about these games other than their existence though, I don't know much about the inner workings of Konami."

It's a rumor that's since been further backed up by an independent source from horror aficionados at Rely on Horror.

Truth or scare?

Could there be any truth in the rumors? There's certainly been lots of noise surrounding the franchise in the past year or so.

For starters, Konami has been renewing its Silent Hill trademarks recently, while Silent Hill 2's art director Mashahiro Ito has become a key member of a new horror project at Konami – one he hopes "won't be cancelled" in the same way that Silent Hills, the last true snippet of a Silent Hill successor we've seen, was.

Silent Hills of course was a project lead by celebrity developer Hideo Kojima, who was the brains behind the Silent Hill franchise in the first place. He had a very public spat with Konami, his long term collaborators, which saw him part ways with the company while Silent Hill was being developed – leaving the property he helped to create at Konami. 

Kojima is now said to be working on another horror project following the success of his bizarre Death Stranding, and sources speaking to Eurogamer say that his relationship with Konami is now much improved. Could he be making a return to the company, and the terrifying franchise he helped to build?

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