Tech News : Copilot Gets Plugins And Skills Upgrade

Microsoft has announced that its Windows 11 Copilot AI companion (that’s been embedded into 365’s popular apps) has received an upgrade in the form of new plugins and skills. 

Builds On The AI Key 

Microsoft says that the new features build upon the introduction of the Copilot AI Key on new Windows 11 PC keyboards, updates to the Copilot icon on the taskbar, and the ability to dock, undock and resize the Copilot pane. 

Adding an AI key to Microsoft Windows 11 PC keyboards, from which Copilot could be directly launched, was the first significant change to Microsoft keyboards in 30 years and represents another way for Microsoft’s own AI to be seamlessly woven into Windows from the system. 

New Popular App Plugins 

The plugins from “favourite apps” that are being added to Copilot now include OpenTable, Shopify, Klarna, and Kayak. Microsoft gives examples of how this will help users, such as: 

– Asking Copilot to make a dinner reservation with friends and Copilot using OpenTable to do so.  

– For staying in, asking Copilot to create a “healthy dinner party menu for 8” and Copilot using the Instacart app plugin to buy the food, “all within Copilot in Windows”

New Skills Too 

Microsoft has announced a list of skills that it will be adding to Copilot, beginning in late March, in the categories of settings, accessibility and live information. Examples include turn on/off battery saver, open storage page, launch live captions, launch voice input, show available Wi-Fi network, and empty recycle bin. Essentially, asking Copilot to do things instead of the user having to themselves is a convenient time-saver that Microsoft hopes will improve user experience and productivity. 

New Creativity App Updates 

The rollout of two “creativity app updates” has also been announced by Microsoft. These are: 

– Generative Erase for removing unwanted objects or imperfections in images when using the Photos app. 

– Clipchamp silence removal preview, which provides an easy way to remove silent gaps in audio tracks for videos. 

Other Announcements 

Microsoft has also taken the opportunity to announce other new features and upgrades including the ability to use an Android phone as a webcam on all video conferencing apps, a combined Windows Update for Business deployment service and Autopatch update for enterprise customers, and Windows Ink to enable natural writing on pen-capable PCs. 

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

With Google recently announcing its new Gemini models being combined with Bard to create a new Gemini Advanced subscription service that ties the Google suite together with AI, Microsoft (helped by its OpenAI partnership) has come back with its own AI upgrade. Competition is hotting up and with the integration of Copilot in its popular 365 apps, a significant keyboard change (the addition of the AI key) and now the addition of new plugins and skills, Microsoft is working to create a single seamless environment, managed by AI.

This will mean users can get everything they want within this environment just by asking, thereby offering ultimate ease and convenience with productivity benefits that will appeal to businesses. It seems that using the same idea as WeChat-style super apps, where users can do everything from one app, major tech players with their own product platforms are now using AI and plugins to achieve a similar thing, gain share and retain customers. It’s also a way to add value and raise existing barriers-to-exit by giving users an easy way to achieve everything within one familiar environment.

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