[German]Microsoft has released the update for Windows 11 called Moments 2 22H2. This update brings several innovations to the platform. This ranges from the new AI-powered Bing, to improved touch operation, to Phone Link for iOS. There are also full-screen widgets and quick access to the generally available Windows 365 app. Windows 11 also includes new AI features in the Start menu (an integration with Bing search in the taskbar) and ongoing updates to make the OS more accessible and sustainable.
The last few weeks have seen topics such as the addition of AI support to the Bing search engine (through ChatGPT) or the release of the Bing and Edge app as a preview on mobile, as well as Skype set by Microsoft. In January 2023, I had reported in a blog post CES AMD talk by Panoy Panay: Windows, let your future be AI on Microsoft's new thrust on AI in Windows at the CES talk by Panoy Panay.
Now the time has come, the features will be rolled out in Windows 11 with the Moments 2 update. Microsoft has introduced them in this blog post. This Moments 2 update KB5022913 is sort of like the previous feature updates that rolled out with Windows 10 in the spring or fall of a year.
Microsoft mentions AI-powered Bing as a new feature, which can be accessed via the Windows search box to access needed information. According to Microsoft, the search box is one of the most used features of Windows, with over half a billion users every month.
Users will get with the new update the possibility to use directly in Windows 11 this new feature to search, chat, answer questions and create content directly in the Windows taskbar.
However, this requires the user to already be part of the Bing Preview. Once these users install the Windows 11 Moments 2 update, they will get access to the new search box with AI-powered Bing search. However, those interested can also sign up for a waiting list on this website for the Bing Preview.
This AI support could be a double-edged sword. Initial experiences with AI-powered Bing search by testers show very mixed results – the technology doesn't really seem ready for "no-brainer use". Just saw articles where researchers warn against the new AI features of ChatGPT and AI bots as a "turbo for spreading disinformation and propaganda".
And the fact that the Windows 11 search starts the web search including the AI module in Bing when trying to search for any internal Windows feature or program is critical from a view of data protectionists but also privacy-conscious users. Will be exciting to see how this goes in a view of european GDPR. Microsoft dragged "AI" into this Windows 11 update and dumps it all over users as an "early beta".
Preview of Phone Link for iOS
With the introduction of Phone Link for iOS as a preview, Microsoft aims to make it easier for iPhone owners to work with a Windows 11 PC. By connecting the devices, users will no longer miss a call or text message while working on a Windows 11 PC, Microsoft promises.
For now, however, Microsoft is only making this preview available to Windows Insiders. More information is available on the Windows Insider Blog.
Improvements for Samsung smartphones
By the way, this feature has been available to Android users for quite some time. With the Moments 2 update comes another upgrade: owners of a Samsung phone are now able to activate the device's personal hotspot on the PC. All it takes is a single click on the Wi-Fi network list.
With the "Recently visited websites" feature, Samsung users can now easily transfer their browser sessions from their smartphone to their Windows PC, where they can continue surfing seamlessly. Here, Microsoft borrows from Apple, where this functionality has been available between the iPhone and a Mac for years.
Easy access to Windows Studio Effects
Last year, Microsoft launched Windows Studio Effects. Effects like eye contact, background blur, automatic frame and voice focus can be used with the integrated camera and microphone, depending on the hardware.
With the Moments 2 update, Windows 11 makes it even easier to find Windows Studio Effects settings directly in the Quick Settings taskbar. From here, effects can be instantly adjusted and used in your favorite communication apps.
Better Microsoft Teams integration
In addition, Microsoft promises seamless integration with Microsoft Teams with the Windows 11 Moments 2 update. When Windows 11 was first introduced, the private version of Microsoft Teams was already integrated with the chat function directly in the taskbar.
With the Moments 2 update, chat has been completely revamped to make it easier to preview a video, take a call directly, or share a call link from any app. Users should be able to access all of their conversations faster and easier by navigating between conversations in the chat in one window.
Help via Quick Assist App
For those who are providing technical support to family and friends, Quick Assist is designed to help them connect with other PCs. Users can open Quick Assist directly from the Start menu and connect remotely even faster.
Likewise, there is the ability to toggle between sharing the screen and taking control of the PC, depending on whether the user wants or needs help. The new laser pointer can now be used to highlight icons, menus or other content on the screen for easy guidance in the process.
Information and news in widgets
With the update, Microsoft is expanding the widgets to include Phone Link, Xbox Game Pass, and offers from partners Meta and Spotify. Clicking on the weather icon in the taskbar or swiping from the left edge of the screen opens Widgets with an overview of all important information.
With the introduction of the new widgets, Microsoft is offering developers new ways to reach customers in Windows. More information for developers is available here.
Touch control improvements
Windows users are also expected to benefit from recently introduced improvements such as touch controls for Snap. This feature helps arrange windows on the screen with just one touch. In addition, there are new touch gestures that allow users to open and close Start, Widgets and Quick Settings with ease. From now on, the new retractable taskbar creates even more screen space.
As soon as the screen is separated from the keyboard, the taskbar automatically slides down. It can be displayed again with a swipe up.
Screen captures in the Snipping Tool
There is now the ability to easily record videos with Snipping Tool's built-in screen recorder. Microsoft wants to constantly expand the features of this app, so Snipping Tool creations can now be easily recorded, saved and shared – all directly in the app.
The app can be accessed via the taskbar search function. Then, Record is to be selected. Screen captures are automatically saved to a default folder so nothing gets lost.
Tabs in Notepad
The Windows editor Notepad should provide developers with new features. With the update, Notepad gets tabs to provide a quick and easy way to organize data and switch between notes. Developers can thus capture lines of code in separate tabs for quick processing and then transfer between them. The Notepad app has received the + symbol to create a new tab for this purpose.
New features for accessibility
With the Moments 2 update, Microsoft has improved the Narrator, which now supports more Braille displays. Among them are three new Designed for Surface Displays from HumanWare. Switching between Narrator and other screen readers while using a Braille display is now seamless.
With the update fetch, voice control leaves the preview. Users can operate favorite Microsoft applications by voice, ranging from working on a Word document to managing files in File Explorer. A full list of available voice commands is available here.
New suggestions for power settings
Windows 11 gets new ways to leave power saving settings on with the Moments 2 update. With the new options and recommendations in System Preferences, users should be able to more easily understand the options for power saving options and adjust settings to make the best choice for their personal PC usage.
AI-driven suggestions in the Start menu
In the enterprise environment, Windows 11 Pro devices connected to Azure Active Directory (AAD) are to get new capabilities for delivering AI-powered recommended content in the Start menu. With one click, users can find related content to help them prepare for upcoming meetings and quickly access files they are collaborating on.
This also raises the question of whether this functionality is desirable and how the whole thing should be judged from a data protectionist's point of view. Microsoft is drawing a brave new world without taking into account the view of "data economy and data protection". Cloud does imply that data is stored and processed off-site. However, the discussions about these features will still be exciting, data protectors already do not see the use of Windows 10 as DSGVO-compliant.
Windows 365 App: Cloud PC Access
For quick access to the cloud PC, the Windows 365 app is now available in the Microsoft Store. With the Windows 365 app, users can access their cloud PC directly from their desktop. The app also lowers the hurdles for IT administrators who want to enable their employees* to log in via single sign-on. The app is available for download now at this link.
How to get the update
The new features are available now through Windows Update, and new apps should be available through Microsoft Store updates. Users with suitable devices running Windows 11 version 22H2, can check for the Moments 2 update KB5022913 via Windows Update settings (Settings > Windows Update) and the Check for Updates option and install it directly.
Microsoft expects that the new features provided via Windows Update will be fully available with the monthly security update in March 2023.
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