At Microsoft’s AI and Surface event on Thursday, the software giant announced a new product titled Copilot, what it calls “your everyday AI companion.” Copilot will be included in the next major Windows 11 update, scheduled for Sept. 26, with Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s vice president saying it’s the most significant update to the operating system to date.

With Copilot, it’s possible to ask it in the middle of a Word document to write a summary of a book or to select an image have it remove the background. In one example, Microsoft showed a long email and by highlighting the text, Copilot will appear so you can ask it questions related to the email. And that information can be cross-referenced to information found online, such as asking Copilot for lunch spots nearby based on the email’s context. 

Copilot will be available on the Windows 11 desktop taskbar, making it instantly available at one click. Microsoft says whether you’re using Word, PowerPoint or Edge, you can call upon Copilot to assist you with various tasks. It can also be called upon via voice. Copilot can connect to your phone, so, for example, you can ask it when your next flight is and it’ll look through your text messages and find the necessary information. 

Edge, Microsoft’s web browser, will also have Copilot integrations. Specifically, Microsoft highlighted features for shopping to find the best deals or use pictures on your phone to find similar products online, similar to Google Lens

Windows 11 will also get new image creation tools, powered by AI. Much like Dall-E, it’ll be possible for Windows 11 users to generate images with text prompts. 

Microsoft’s evolution on AI comes after it invested heavily in OpenAI, creator of ChatGPT, earlier this year. ChatGPT launched last year to near universal acclaim, with the AI chatbot being able to answer nearly any question with a novel answer. From being able to summarize books to create a romantic comedy skit, people were stunned by how quickly it could generate answers that read like a human wrote them.

With Microsoft’s bet on OpenAI, it brought AI capabilities to Bing, allowing AI-generated answers and image generation. Both Apple and Google too have been chasing after AI, bringing enhanced machine-learning and generative features to iPhone, Pixel devices and Search

New pen capabilities are coming to Windows 11, too. With the power of Copilot, it’s possible to write complex math equations with a pen on-screen, and Copilot will be able to understand it and place it as text in a document.

Editors’ note: CNET is using an AI engine to help create some stories. For more, see this post.

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