Wednesday Newsbytes: Google to Add Bard AI to Everything; Chrome to get Full Tracking Protection; Norton’s New AI Scam Detector; What’s Coming in Huge Windows 11 Update… and more!
Every day we scan the tech world for interesting news in the world of technology and sometimes from outside the world of technology. Every Wednesday, we feature news articles that grabbed our attention over the past week. We hope you find this week’s ‘Wednesday Newsbytes’ informative and interesting!
As Google rolls Bard into Gmail, YouTube, and more, Gizmodo sat down with the AI’s product lead to talk about the biggest questions surrounding the technology.
Google announced a supercharged update to its Bard chatbot Tuesday: The tech giant will integrate the generative AI into the company’s most popular services, including Gmail, Docs, Drive, Maps, YouTube, and more. Together with a new feature that tells you when Bard provides potentially inaccurate answers, the new version of the AI is neck-and-neck with ChatGPT for the most useful and accessible large language model on the market.
Google is calling the generative features “Bard Extensions,” the same name as the user-selected additions to Chrome. With the AI extensions, you’ll be able to send Bard on a mission that pulls in data from all the disparate parts of your Google account for the very first time. If you’re planning a vacation, for example, you can ask Bard to find the dates a friend sent you on Gmail, look for flights and hotel options on Google Flights, and devise you a daily itinerary of things to do based on information from YouTube. Google promises it won’t use your private data to train its AI, and that these new features are opt-in only…
Taking control in Google Chrome is about to become easier
Google is reportedly working on a new ‘Tracking Protection’ section to the Settings menu in Chrome to help users more easily navigate a variety of tools designed to help protect them against web tracking.
The news comes from Windows Insider, which claims to have spotted clues about the upcoming update in Chromium code commits.
Most notably, the company looks to be working on new protection features against third-party cookie domain tracking to help users of the popular browser stop advertisers from following them across websites.
Chrome security boost
Windows Insider has suggested that a toggle to protect users against third-party cookie domain tracking could be housed inside the new Tracking Protection section…
Norton Genie will analyze suspicious emails and other content and alert you if a scam is afoot. Here’s how to use it.
You’ve received an email, text, or website notification that’s triggering your Spidey senses, so you’re not sure if it’s legitimate or malicious. One tool that can help is Norton’s Genie.
With this free AI-powered scam detector, you submit the text or image of a suspicious message, social media post, or website. In return, Genie will try to tell you whether the item is a possible scam and let you ask follow-up questions to decide what to do next.
Available as a website and an iPhone/iPad app, Norton Genie is currently in an early access phase, which means it’s not yet fully widespread or perfected. The app itself is accessible only in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand…
Microsoft’s testing some neat new features for the Windows 11 Snipping Tool and the one and only Notepad dot exe. They’re only in the Windows Insider Program for now, but they’re there.
Anyone who’s ever tried to shut down their PC or close Notepad in the past, I dunno, 40 years, will be relieved to know that soon Notepad will finally just close without popping up a dialog box for each text file asking if you want to save changes. Notepad is getting autosave. Tabs, dark mode, a little spinny gear thing, and now this? It’s startin’ to look mighty modern around here.
With this update, Notepad will start automatically saving your session state allowing you to close Notepad without any interrupting dialogs and then pick up where you left off when you return. Notepad will automatically restore previously open tabs as well as unsaved content and edits across those open tabs. Saved session state does not impact any of your files, though, and it is still your choice whether to save or discard unsaved changes to files anytime you close a tab.
In non-Notepad news from the same post, Windows’ Snipping Tool is getting a better screen recording interface…
Microsoft is preparing to launch the next feature update for Windows 11, code-named Windows 23H2.
Microsoft’s next huge Windows 11 feature update, code-named Windows 11 23H2, has a big addition: AI. Microsoft is readying for the era of the AI PC with the addition of Windows Copilot, powered by Bing Chat.
It’s the closest thing to a theme that we’ve seen within a Windows 11 update in some time. AI will power Windows Copilot, of course, but also recommended files in File Explorer and Start as well as a designated AI-specific section within the Microsoft Store app. You should also expect various small improvements across Windows, both in terms of ease-of-use and functional updates, like the ability to restore apps from a backup.
Microsoft has scheduled a press event on Sept. 21 in New York City, and it’s there that we expect Microsoft will showcase some of these new features. While it’s possible that Microsoft could release Windows 11 23H2 this week as well, Microsoft has typically played it safe and given testers an extra month or so work out the wrinkles.
When can you expect Windows 11 23H2 to arrive on your PC? We’d say it’s likely to arrive in October.
What will Windows 11 23H2 be known as? If history holds, it will be called the Windows 11 October 2023 Update, assuming Microsoft releases it in October.
How much will Microsoft charge for Windows 11 23H2? It will be a free update, and we have seen just a single small update feature that is reserved for the more expensive Windows 11 Pro.
How long will Windows 11 23H2 take to download and install? Though downloading Windows 11 23H2 can be done in the background, the installation/reboot process could take 20 minutes to a half hour, depending on how long Microsoft takes to apply the updates to your PC.
It’s not clear how Microsoft will release Windows 11 23H2 to your PC. Previously, Microsoft has pushed updates via the Windows 11 update stack, shooting incremental code updates to your PC in a matter of moments. But with some of the fundamental changes Microsoft is adding to your PC, it’s possible that Windows 11 23H2 may be a bit more involved…
It was through an SAS link that permitted access to a full Azure storage account.
A Microsoft AI research team that uploaded training data on GitHub in an effort to offer other researchers open-source code and AI models for image recognition inadvertently exposed 38TB of personal data. Wiz, a cybersecurity firm, discovered a link included in the files that contained backups of Microsoft employees’ computers. Those backups contained passwords to Microsoft services, secret keys and over 30,000 internal Teams messages from hundreds of the tech giant’s employees, Wiz says. Microsoft assures in its own report of the incident, however, that “no customer data was exposed, and no other internal services were put at risk.”
The link was deliberately included with the files so that interested researchers could download pretrained models — that part was no accident. Microsoft’s researchers used an Azure feature called “SAS tokens,” which allows users to create shareable links that give other people access to data in their Azure Storage account. Users can choose what information can be accessed through SAS links, whether it’s a single file, a full container or their entire storage. In Microsoft’s case, the researchers shared a link that had access to the full storage account…
Thanks for reading this week’s Wednesday Newbytes. We hope these articles were informative, interesting, fun, and helpful. Darcy & TC