Wednesday Newsbytes: Microsoft Monday; New Pill Kills Every Kind of Cancer in Tests; Microsoft is Closing Down Cortana; Windows 11 Co-Pilot to Show Ads: Windows 11’s New File Explorer… 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!
Microsoft initially restricted Bing Chat since its launch in February to Microsoft’s own Edge browser. Microsoft started opening up to Chrome and Safari desktop browsers in July under its testing for full third-party browser support.
Microsoft is opening it up to all mobile browsers after offering Bing Chat in separate Android and iOS mobile apps, the Vefge reports.
There have also been over 1 million chats on Bing Chat and over 750 million images generated using the service.
Windows Copilot, powered by Bing Chat, will be soon available under Windows 11. Microsoft is currently testing this sidebar in builds of Windows 11 and looks to likely roll out to all Windows 11 users later this year.
Microsoft’s move also comes amid reports indicating Apple Inc AAPL is quietly working on artificial intelligence tools that could challenge those of OpenAI Inc’s ChatGPT and Alphabet Inc’s GOOG GOOGL Bard.
Reportedly, Apple looks to leverage cutting-edge generative AI technologies, like LLMs, specifically for mobile.
Apple has created a chatbot service dubbed “Apple GPT.”
The twice-a-day pill is now being trialed in people.
A new targeted therapy that killed more than 70 types of cancer in preclinical tests — without harming healthy cells — is now being trialed in people.
The challenge: A targeted therapy for cancer focuses on a specific gene or protein that cancer cells need to grow, divide, and spread. While these can be highly effective treatments, cancer often evolves to resist them.
In theory, a protein named PCNA (“proliferating cell nuclear antigen”) would be an ideal target for a cancer therapy — all growing solid tumors rely on a mutated form of PCNA to repair and replicate their cells.
Unfortunately, PCNA was long thought to be “undruggable,” meaning there was no way to effectively target the protein with a treatment.
A new targeted therapy: Researchers at City of Hope appear to have overcome the challenge of targeting the mutated form of PCNA with a new drug, called AOH1996.
“City of Hope was able to develop an investigational medicine for a challenging protein target.”
In a new study, they detail how the drug killed more than 70 types of cancer in lab tests and 3 types (neuroblastoma, breast cancer, and small-cell lung cancer) in tests on mice. It didn’t show any signs of toxicity toward healthy cells when administered to mice and dogs, either — even when they were given 6 times the effective dose.
“No one has ever targeted PCNA as a therapeutic because it was viewed as ‘undruggable,’ but clearly City of Hope was able to develop an investigational medicine for a challenging protein target,” said lead author Long Gu.
How it works: When cells divide, the mechanisms for duplicating the cell’s DNA and those for expressing its genes sometimes collide with one another…
Cortana is Microsoft’s virtual assistant, which was introduced in 2014 back when Windows Phone was still a thing. Similar to Siri, Cortana lets users perform a number of tasks using voice commands. But it seems Microsoft is giving up on its old virtual assistant, as the latest Windows 11 update kills the Cortana app. The reason? The company will now bet on AI instead.
Microsoft’s Cortana is saying goodbye
As reported by Windows Latest, the Cortana app has received an update via the Microsoft Store after two years without getting a single new feature. But instead of new features, the update pretty much kills Cortana and now shows a message saying that “Cortana in Windows as a standalone app is deprecated.”
A support article from Microsoft details that Cortana will continue to be available within apps like Outlook and Microsoft Teams. However, even that shouldn’t last long. The company behind Windows says it will now focus on Bing Search and Windows Copilot, which are powered by generative AI.
“Starting in August 2023, we will no longer support Cortana in Windows as a standalone app. However, you can still access powerful productivity features in Windows and Edge, which have increased AI capabilities,” says Microsoft. “We are excited to keep innovating and using AI to help you work smarter and faster…
Copilot is speedily making its way through preview builds, so could be here for the 23H2 update, maybe
Microsoft is expanding the rollout of its Copilot AI to testers in the Beta channel for Windows 11 – but it comes with a sting in the tail.
Copilot has arrived with Beta build 22631.2129, but as with the preview incarnation of the AI in earlier builds, it’s in a limited form right now.
As Microsoft observes, this is more about getting the integrated UI for Copilot right – it runs in a sidebar, to the right – rather than testing all its features. We’re told that “additional functionality [is] coming down the road in future previews.”
Also, it should be noted that Copilot will be a “controlled feature rollout” meaning only a small amount of testers will get it initially. It’ll arrive for more folks in the “coming weeks”, so this is a rollout that could take some time.
(It’s also worth noting that not every Insider will get this build either – new testers, and a subset of existing testers, won’t get 22631 as it might cause their device to be put “into a bad state”, which sounds ominous).
If you’re not seeing Copilot and you’re in the Beta channel, then, this isn’t unexpected – but you should make sure you’re running Microsoft Edge version 115.0.1901.150 or better. (As the AI is powered via Edge, you definitely won’t get it on an older version of the browser).
For those who do receive Copilot, here comes that sting we mentioned at the outset. Microsoft tells us: “You may see inline recommendations we think are relevant through ads in Bing. We’ll continue to learn and listen to customer feedback.”
Yes, there we have it – adverts are going to be displayed in Copilot…
With the introduction of Windows 11 23H2, Microsoft has modernized File Explorer on Windows 11, bringing a fresher look and feel to the system’s integral file management tool.
This update is not only visually pleasing but also comes with enhanced features and functions aimed at boosting productivity and making navigation simpler.
Among the new enhancements, the redesigned File Explorer now features a modern home page powered by WinUI, which integrates the Fluent Design System into all controls and styles.
For those logged into Windows using an Azure Active Directory (AAD) account, recommended files will appear in a carousel with the soon-to-be-introduced support for file thumbnails.
Quick Access folders, Favorites, and Recent sections also get a visual overhaul, providing a seamless, contemporary user experience.
The new File Explorer has an updated address bar that can distinguish between local and cloud folders, displaying built-in status. Particularly for OneDrive users, the address bar will also indicate your OneDrive sync status and provide a flyout for your quota.
Another exciting introduction is the modernized details pane (accessed by ALT + Shift + P). This pane offers a variety of contextual information about selected files, including file thumbnails, share status, file activity, related files and emails, and more.
This new feature enhances the user’s ability to manage and collaborate on files without opening them…
Google’s auto-zoom feature looks handy
If you’ve spent time hunched over a menu or up against your TV screen to open a QR code, you’ll know the experience can still feel a bit last decade – but a smart new Android feature that Google is testing could finally make the QR code experience a lot more slick.
As spotted by Android analyst Mishaal Rahman, Google has updated its code scanner API for developers with the ability to detect QR codes in your camera frame, then automatically zoom in and read them. That means being able to scan them from much further away, rather than pressing your phone up against a shop window or manually zooming in.
While this auto-zoom tool for QR codes isn’t in Android yet, it is now available for developers to include in their apps – and could also appear in Android 14, which should be rolling out in the next few weeks…
Thanks for reading this week’s Wednesday Newbytes. We hope these articles were informative, interesting, fun, and helpful. Darcy & TC