Microsoft’s Build developer conference is about to start, with a keynote from CEO Satya Nadella taking place at 12PM ET / 9AM PT on May 23rd. There’ll be an in-person event taking place in Seattle, Washington, but many of the sessions will also be available to watch online.
Similar to other developer conferences like Google I/O and Apple’s WWDC, Microsoft uses Build to make feature announcements for its platforms and provide in-depth sessions for developers and other professionals that rely on its tools. Although there’s been the odd hardware announcement at past Build conferences, Microsoft is normally pretty focused on software and services.
This year’s Build is heavily focusing on AI, with new additions of the CoPilot experience to Windows 11 and Edge, as well as new Bing AI and Copilot plugins for OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Microsoft has been busy in recent months building generative AI into many of its products and services, including search engine Bing, browser Edge, GitHub, and Office productivity suite, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
- Windows 11 is getting a force quit option to close apps without the Task Manager
- Windows 11 will try to fix the fragmented mess of RGB lighting
- Windows 11 will soon have native RAR support.
- Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott thinks Sydney might make a comeback
- Bing is now the default search for ChatGPT
- Microsoft announces Windows Copilot, an AI ‘personal assistant’ for Windows 11
Microsoft Build kicks off today, and it has shaped up to be one big AI-focused event. The company has made several announcements on how it’s expanding its use of AI across its apps and services, including in Windows 11, Microsoft 365, and more.Read Article >
If you want to keep up with the latest, we’ve rounded up all the biggest news from the event below.
Microsoft is working on an easier way to view your saved Wi-Fi passwords in Windows, the company reveals in its latest blog post. The new feature comes in a new Insider Preview Build that’s been released to the Dev Channel.Read Article >
With the new build (23466) of Windows 11, you can now see saved SSID keys in plain text by going to Settings > Network and internet > Wi-Fi and then going to Manage known networks. Then, you can select a saved SSID and click View Wi-Fi security key. And that’s it.
Microsoft is planning to add a force quit option to the Windows 11 taskbar. Similar to macOS, it will allow Windows users to finally force crashed apps and buggy ones directly from the taskbar without having to open Task Manager.Read Article >
We first saw this appear in some early test versions of Windows 11, and Microsoft has confirmed at its Build developers conference this week that it’s adding the feature soon. It’s part of a series of new Windows 11 features, including native support for RAR, Tar, 7-zip, and gz archives, a new Windows Copilot AI assistant, and a dedicated Dev Home for developers.
Pour one out for WinRAR because Microsoft just announced Windows 11 will natively support RAR and a bunch of other archive formats that Windows users have been waiting decades for. Perfect if ye be swimmin’ in lots o’ files, if ye catch me drift.Read Article >
“We have added native support for additional archive formats, including tar, 7-zip, rar, gz and many others using the libarchive open-source project,” says Windows chief Panos Panay in a blog post today. “You now can get improved performance of archive functionality during compression on Windows.”
- Microsoft Teams avatars are rolling out this week.
It’s been a long time coming but Microsoft Teams avatars are finally here. The avatars will work on Windows PCs or Macs, allowing Teams users to create a 3D avatar to use in meetings instead of being on camera or even needing a webcam. Microsoft also has its immersive spaces for Microsoft Teams in private preview now.
Microsoft is adding a much-needed feature to Windows 11: the ability to customize your RGB lighting through the Settings menu. The goal is to create a hub where you can adjust the lighting of all your accessories and components, no matter the brand.Read Article >
Microsoft calls the hub Dynamic Lighting, but details on how the feature will actually work remain unclear. We got a potential glimpse at what it might look like in a set of images leaked earlier this year, which show a new “Lighting” option within the Settings menu that lets you set the lighting effects for all linked devices.
- Microsoft Fabric is also launching this week.
Microsoft Fabric is a data analytics platform. It’s probably one of the biggest data product announcements from the software giant since SQL server. It’s designed to pull data from Microsoft’s OneLake data lake, Amazon S3, and even Google Cloud soon. Microsoft has even added an AI Copilot to Microsoft Fabric, too.
- Bing Chat is also getting plug-ins that will work in ChatGPT.
A big part of Microsoft’s announcements at Build this year is OpenAI interoperability for Bing plug-ins, Microsoft Copilot plug-ins, and ChatGPT plug-ins. This means developers and users can create plug-ins that work across multiple chatbots, thanks to Microsoft’s close partnership with OpenAI. Read more about it here.
- This is Bing in ChatGPT.
Bing will now be the default search engine in OpenAI’s ChatGPT AI chatbot. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella demonstrated how it works on stage at Microsoft Build today. “This is just the start of what we plan to do with our partners in OpenAI to bring the best of Bing to the ChatGPT experience,” says Nadella. Read more about how it works here.
- Microsoft’s Build keynote is starting now.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is on stage discussing platform shifts and recounting memories of previous tech changes. For Microsoft this year’s Build is all about artificial intelligence. You can watch the keynote right here or check out the latest announcements from Microsoft Build right here.
- Windows 11 will soon have native RAR support.
Ahoy, matey! Microsoft is finally adding in native RAR support into Windows 11. While you’ve been able to open ZIP files for years in Windows, WinRAR or something similar was always required for RAR files. Archive formats like tar, 7-zip, RAR, gz and many others will now be supported using the libarchive open-source project.Microsoft’s upcoming Windows features
[Windows Developer Blog]
- Windows Copilot looks like the star of Microsoft Build.
Microsoft announced an AI “personal assistant” for Windows 11 earlier today. Windows Copilot already looks like it will be the star of Microsoft Build. It’s integrated right into Windows 11 and available to open from the taskbar across all apps to summarize documents, help control system settings, and much more. Check out our full article on Windows Copilot here.
After first being rolled out as a developer-only preview in August 2022, Microsoft has now announced that its Dev Box cloud-powered workstations will soon be publicly available on an unspecified date in July 2023. First teased at last year’s Build event, Microsoft Dev Box provides developers with apps and services to access what are essentially preconfigured ready-to-code cloud-based PCs that can be used for testing various projects.Read Article >
Microsoft created its Dev Box to save developers time when switching between different projects, removing the hours — or sometimes days — of work needed to run through laborious onboarding processes, such as installing and configuring required tools. The Dev Box is built on the foundations of Windows 365 (another of Microsoft’s cloud PC services), which allows it to be accessed from any modern web browser. That also means it can support any integrated development environment (IDE), software development kit (SDK), or tools that already run on Windows.
Microsoft’s 365 Copilot, the company’s AI-powered assistant for its suite of productivity software, is going to get plug-ins, Microsoft revealed as part of its Build announcements on Tuesday. With the update, you’ll be able to add new functionality to the assistant so that you can customize it for your specific needs.Read Article >
There will be three types of Microsoft 365 Copilot plug-ins, according to a blog post from Microsoft EVP Rajesh Jha: plug-ins leveraging OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology, Teams message extensions and Power Platform connectors. The early access program will launch with more than 50 plug-ins, including offerings from Atlassian and Adobe. When the plug-ins officially launch, Microsoft says that there will be thousands available.
Microsoft is building a natural language AI chatbot into its Windows Terminal application. The upcoming GitHub Copilot Chat experience will be available to Windows Terminal users as Microsoft experiments further with adding AI-powered features to Windows features.Read Article >
“Users of GitHub Copilot will be able to take advantage of natural language AI both inline and in an experimental chat experience to recommend commands, explain errors, and take actions within the Terminal application,” explains Windows chief Panos Panay in a developer blog post today. The expansion of GitHub Copilot to Windows Terminal comes just months after GitHub announced a new ChatGPT-like assistant to help developers write and fix code.
Windows 11 now supports Bluetooth LE, the low-energy audio specification that allows users to wirelessly connect to devices while consuming less battery power. In an announcement during its Build conference on Tuesday, Microsoft said it launched the spec in partnership with Samsung and Intel.Read Article >
Bluetooth LE, which the group behind Bluetooth launched last year, uses the LC3 audio codec that introduces support for multi-stream, or the ability to transmit audio to multiple devices at once. It also offers big improvements for use with hearing aids, allowing them to consume far less energy when in use throughout the day.
Microsoft’s AI-powered Copilot assistant is coming to the Edge browser, the company announced Tuesday. Copilot in Edge uses whatever website the user is currently visiting as context to complete tasks elsewhere — such as in Office documents, Outlook emails, and other places with Microsoft 365 Copilot reach.Read Article >
For example, if you’re in corporate sales and visiting a potential client’s website, you can ask Copilot in Edge to summarize everything about that lead as discussed in meetings, emails, and chats. Copilot can also suggest to use the information you’re looking at and reply to an email you received from your supervisor about how the lead is coming along.
Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott, who as of this week also has the new title executive vice president of AI, oversees Microsoft’s AI efforts, including the big partnership with OpenAI and ChatGPT. Kevin and I spoke ahead of his keynote talk at Microsoft Build, the company’s annual developer conference, where he showed off the company’s new AI assistant tools, which Microsoft calls Copilots. Microsoft is big into Copilots. GitHub Copilot is already helping millions of developers write code, and now, the company is adding Copilots to everything from Office to the Windows Terminal.Read Article >
Basically, if there’s a text box, Microsoft thinks AI can help you fill it out, and Microsoft has a long history of assistance like this. You might remember Clippy from the ’90s. Well, AI Super Clippy is here.
Microsoft is making a big AI-focused change to the Microsoft Store: AI-generated review summaries are going to start appearing across the Microsoft Store, showing top-line synopsis of the reviews in addition to the usual rating of up to five stars. AI-generated rundowns like these are becoming increasingly common — see Artifact’s simple article summaries as well as the forthcoming search summaries Google is working on — and given Microsoft’s recent pushes into everything AI, it makes some sense why the company is introducing the feature.Read Article >
That said, Microsoft didn’t detail how the information that surfaces in these summaries will be vetted or how the company intends to insulate the summaries against abuse — by bad faith review-bombing efforts, for example. When asked about whether the store will have editorial filters in place to ensure they’re an accurate reflection of reviews, Microsoft Store general manager Giorgio Sardo told us in an email that, “as part of preview, we will gather feedback from the developer community” on the feature.
Microsoft is committing to using the same open plug-in standard that OpenAI uses for ChatGPT, enabling interoperability between plug-ins for Bing Chat, Microsoft’s Copilot platform, and ChatGPT.Read Article >
It’s a welcome step forward for the future of AI chatbots, meaning plug-ins won’t be restricted to one particular platform and developers and users can build them across both consumer- and business-focused experiences. But until Google signs up to the same open plug-in standard for Bard, it’s limited to two companies that have a close partnership. Microsoft extended its OpenAI partnership in a “multibillion dollar investment” earlier this year, just weeks before the company announced its GPT-4-powered Bing Chat.
OpenAI will start using Bing as the default search experience for ChatGPT. The new search functionality will be rolling out to ChatGPT Plus users today and will be enabled for all free ChatGPT users soon through a plug-in in ChatGPT.Read Article >
“Foundational to our progress with the new Bing is our fantastic partnership with OpenAI,” says Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s head of consumer marketing, in a blog post today. “ChatGPT will now have a world-class search engine built-in to provide timelier and more up-to-date answers with access from the web.”
Microsoft is making it easier for developers to set up and use Windows dev machines. A new Dev Home section of Windows 11 is available in preview today and includes the ability to set up development environments for machines that will link to GitHub and connect to relevant repos, install tools and packages, and much more.Read Article >
“Life as a developer involves constantly juggling manual dev machine set up with too many clicks, multiple tool sign-ins, navigating sub-optimal filesystem performance and context switching, and we know that these disruptions can significantly impact your productivity,” admits Windows chief Panos Panay.
Microsoft is adding a Copilot AI assistant to Windows 11. Much like the Copilot sidebars we’ve seen in Edge, Office apps, and even GitHub, Windows Copilot will be integrated directly into Windows 11 and available to open and use from the taskbar across all apps and programs.Read Article >
“Once open, the Windows Copilot side bar stays consistent across your apps, programs, and windows, always available to act as your personal assistant,” explains Panos Panay, Microsoft’s head of Windows and devices. “It makes every user a power user, helping you take action, customize your settings, and seamlessly connect across your favorite apps.”
- The juicy Microsoft Build session is actually tomorrow.
So we know Panos Panay is pumped once again, but he’s also holding a session at Microsoft Build tomorrow on “shaping the future of work with AI.” This could be where we get to hear more about the future of Windows with AI, and who knows maybe even a Windows 12 teaser? Maybe? Hmm?Shaping the future of work with AI
- Microsoft Build starts today and guess who is pumped?
Microsoft’s Windows and Surface chief, Panos Panay, is getting ready to talk onstage at the company’s Build event this week. Such an event can only mean one thing for Panay: he’s PUMPED. Given Panay said at CES earlier year “AI is going to reinvent how you do everything on Windows,” there might be good reason to be pumped. Panay has been in a constant state of pumped for more than a decade now. Stay tuned for all of our Build coverage. Soon.