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Windows 11’s AI-powered Copilot (and its Bing-powered ads) enters public preview

Windows Copilot is an AI-assisted feature coming to Windows 11 preview builds.

Enlarge / Windows Copilot is an AI-assisted feature coming to Windows 11 preview builds. (credit: Microsoft)

Last month, Microsoft announced that it would continue its put-ChatGPT-in-everything adventure with a new Windows 11 feature called Copilot. The company added generative AI to Edge and to the Bing-powered taskbar Search field months ago, but Copilot promises to be the most visible and hard-to-ignore version of Microsoft’s big AI push in its most visible and hard-to-ignore product.

This week’s Windows Insider Preview build for Dev channel users, build 23493, will be the first to enable Copilot for public testers. After installing the update, preview users can press Windows + C to open a Copilot column on the right side of the screen. It will use the same Microsoft account you use for the rest of the OS (it’s unclear whether it will work without a Microsoft account, though, to date, the preview has required sign-up and sign-in). And like the other Bing Chat implementations, it has three different “conversation style” settings that either try to rein the chatbot in and keep its answers straightforward and factual or allow it to get “more creative” but more prone to confabulations.

In addition to chatting, Copilot will also support creating AI images using OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 model, the same technology used for the Bing Image Creator. Some features announced last month, including third-party plugin support, aren’t included in this initial preview, and later versions will also be able to adjust a wider range of Windows settings.

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