Microsoft came out hot with its Windows Copilot 365 and Copilot for Windows announcements last year, and presented Copilot as a general virtual assistant to help with your whole digital life. So far, we’re yet to see Copilot reach its potential, but it looks like we’re one step closer: Microsoft is reportedly gearing up to add a powerful new feature that will allow users to take a screenshot, submit it to Copilot, and ask Copilot to explain what’s in the screenshot.
As far as we know, an “add a screenshot” button is rolling out to the general public - meaning you may already be able to try it. If not, you should be able to very soon. This button should appear in the Copilot panel, prompting you to select a part of the screen, confirming that you’ve captured what you want to discuss with Copilot, and then upload it to the Copilot or Bing right-side panel. When I tried it, I did also need to submit some text to go along with it, such as a question or additional context.
Once the screenshot is uploaded, you can talk about it and ask about anything within it or relating to it with Bing Chat or Copilot on Windows 11.
Windows Latest has their own demonstration of this new feature, and I had a go of my own. First, I took a screenshot selection which showed a full description of video creation platform HeyGen's YouTube channel and asked it to tell me two things: whose channel it is and what it’s about.
Copilot returned this:
This is the YouTube channel of HeyGen. It is a next-gen video creation platform that turns text into professional spokesperson videos in minutes. They offer premium avatars speaking in multiple languages and professional video templates for various use cases including marketing, e-learning, and corporate communication. You can find more information about HeyGen on their website.
This is pretty accurate, and reminded me of one feature in particular that I really like about Bing Chat and Copilot - they readily and very visibly provide sources and websites that you can visit to double check the information.
Once you make a selection of your screen, you can make markings on it and draw on it. You can also add specific instructional visuals to help Copilot understand your query, and you can move your selection window around to a different part of the screen altogether.
According to Windows Latest, Bing Chat recently got a ChatGPT-4 boost granting it a new level of functionality and this is likely making its way into Copilot as well. Apparently access is currently only granted to select users, and this development enables Copilot to engage in conversations about emotions. Currently, there is a limited pool of users who can try this for themselves and access is seemingly given at random, and it will be available to all who access Windows Copilot and Bing Chat very shortly.
Microsoft charts a course ahead with Copilot
Microsoft has been pretty definitive in its messaging that Copilot is a big deal for the company, and will be a central feature in several products like Microsoft 365 and Windows, but not just those.
In a pretty major (yet not terribly surprising) development, Microsoft is planning to add an actual physical Copilot button into the hardware of newly manufactured products as early as 2024. Microsoft is doing this in its continuing effort to make computing, especially AI-powered computing, simpler and more seamless for users. This was detailed and confirmed in a recent Windows Experience Blog post written by Yusuf Mehdi, Executive Vice President and Consumer Chief Marketing Officer at Microsoft.
For the rest of us not ready to throw our older Windows devices out quite yet for this new button, you can bring up Windows Copilot with the shortcut Win+C (if you have updated your Windows 11 version to one that has Windows Copilot included).
According to Microsoft itself, the introduction of the Copilot key will be the most notable upgrade to the Windows keyboard in almost thirty years. It likens this future introduction to the addition of the Windows Start key, which is putting a lot of faith in Copilot itself so I imagine we’ll continue to see major developments to Copilot throughout this year. I think especially with Copilot’s development, Microsoft is one of the most exciting companies to watch this year.
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Kristina is a UK-based Computing Writer, and is interested in all things computing, software, tech, mathematics and science. Previously, she has written articles about popular culture, economics, and miscellaneous other topics.
She has a personal interest in the history of mathematics, science, and technology; in particular, she closely follows AI and philosophically-motivated discussions.