As expected, Microsoft is bringing the powerful and somewhat controversial AI-enabled Bing to Windows 11 and putting it right in the taskbar.
The update will arrive today (February 28), but if you don’t have access to AI Bing yet (perhaps you’re still on the waiting list), you won’t see it.
Those who access and use at least Windows 11 version 22H2 on one of the best Windows PCs will see the same OpenAI ChatGPT-enabled Bing chatbot that has been used by at least a million people for almost a month.
AI-enabled Bing is designed to be a search engine co-pilot. You can use the new Bing in a standard search fashion or in a more conversational mode where you ask the chatbot anything, even a series of questions that stay in context and, when things go well, help you get better answers.
Now this experience will live in the centered and quite popular Windows 11 search box in the taskbar.
While Microsoft’s blog post announcing the update points to some of the inspiring stories of discovering AI-powered Bing information, the decision to bring it to a platform used by millions of people is not without controversy.
Since its introduction at a surprise event a few weeks ago, users have pushed AI-enabled Bing to the limit. He was accused of making things up, cheating at tic-tac-toe and just going off the rails. Microsoft responded by placing some barriers to the new technology, such as limiting interactions to five responses at a time.
However, none of this has slowed Microsoft’s expansion plans. Last week, Microsoft unveiled an AI-enabled mobile version of Bing that includes voice interaction.
Microsoft is sort of hedging its bets by bringing AI-enabled Bing to Windows 11 rather than the much more widely used Windows 10, which may be on over a billion devices.
Still, this is a significant boost to Bing’s accessibility with AI support, and the roadmap is clear. This ChatGPT-powered search will eventually be part of all Windows 11 installations, which means learning it can grow exponentially. It could also mean that Microsoft faces even more unforeseen chatbot challenges.
With the AI-enabled Bing taskbar update, Microsoft is finally bringing Phone Link to iOS devices.
For years, Microsoft has offered a direct connection between Windows and the best Samsung phones via Phone Link, allowing you to transfer the call through the browser and the ability to send SMS and other notifications from the phone to the Windows screen.
This Windows 11 update finally adds support for iPhones, allowing Windows users to view messages and notifications from their iPhones on Windows 11 PCs and sync contacts. You’ll even be able to manage your phone calls through your computer.
Unlike the Bing update, this one is still only available as a preview for Windows Insiders, a beta program you can sign up here (opens in a new tab). Just remember that running unreleased software comes with risks, including data loss in the event of a system crash.
Several other notable Windows 11 updates are available in today’s full public release, including:
• Ability to customize Windows Studio effects directly from the taskbar in Quick Settings.
• Sliding taskbar when using Windows 11 in tablet mode. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen will bring the taskbar back.
• Ability to open Quick Help from the Help menu to request and deliver technical support. It will even let you switch between screen sharing and full remote control of your or someone else’s system (assuming you trust who you’re working with).
• Finally, Microsoft is adding screen recording to its snipping tool, which has traditionally been used to capture screen images. We’d love to see it add the ability to create GIFs from these screen overlays, perhaps in a future Windows 11 update.
As we mentioned earlier, this major Windows 11 update will roll out today (February 28) and while most of the updates will be available to everyone, the AI-enabled Bing will only arrive if you’re already part of the Bing preview program.