News & Analysis

Microsoft Build 2023: All the Updates

As Microsoft Build 2023 kicked off its three-day event from May 23, we bring you some of the major announcements from this event

On Day-2 of the conference, there were some more interesting tidbits coming from the Microsoft Build 2023 event. Here are some additional highlights: 

Microsoft does a Jugalbandi for Rural India

Barely a few months after Microsoft and OpenAI unveiled ChatGPT to the world, the technology is now all set to reach remote villages in India. A chatbot, called Jugalbandi, built by Microsoft and the open-source initiative OpenNyAI and AI4Bharat, both backed by the government of India, could well redefine the information access to rural India. 

According to information shared by Microsoft, the chatbot could offer insights into more than 170 government programs and cater to 10 indigenous languages of the country. 

In a blog post, Microsoft explained that a large number of India’s population are unable to access government programs due to language barriers and Jugalbandi aims to bridge this gap by leveraging Whatsapp, which has found an enormous number of users in the country. Using language models from AI4Bharat and reasoning by Microsoft Azure OpenAI service, Jugalbandi empowers individuals to pose questions and receive responses in text and voice. 

Watermarking to define AI-images from real ones

Given the ample possibilities that AI-generated images have created, Microsoft is making an attempt with new media provenance features to create a watermark that differentiates the real from the spurious ones. 

The Bing Image Creator and Designer, Microsoft’s web app that can generate designs and presentations, posters and more, the new media provenance capabilities will allow users to verify whether an image or video is generated by AI. It uses cryptographic methods and is slated to be rolled out in the coming months. However, it is not a visible watermark and sites will need to adopt interoperable specifications under C2Pa, a spec created with inputs from Adobe, Arm, Intel, Microsoft and Truepic. 

Revamping the Fabric of Data Analytics 

In another development, we saw the launch of Microsoft Fabric, which is an end-to-end data and analytics platform (not the same as Azure Service Fabric). The new platform focuses on Microsoft’s OneLake data lake and can pull in data from Amazon S2 and possibly also Google Cloud Platform at a later date. 

It comes with integration tools, a Spark-based data engineering platform, a real-time analytics platform and Power BI, an easy to use visualization and AI-based analytics tool. There is also a new no-code developer experience that enables users to monitor data in real time and trigger actions and notifications based on it. All of these are already integrated and in due course Microsoft says it would also bring in AI Copilot into the mix.

Microsoft Build, the annual conference that has for long showcased the company’s latest updates to Windows, Azure and other platforms for engineers and developers, kicked off on May 23. Here are some of the major developments / announcements that have come up on the first day. Please come back and take a peek again tomorrow for fresh updates to this story: 

Windows 11 Gets an AI-driven Copilot

This is something we all knew would happen but Microsoft has now announced that Copilot would appear on Windows 11. It is the same assistant that integrates across Microsoft Edge, Office suite and GitHub. The app will reside in the taskbar and upon clicking would open up the Copilot sidebar where users can ask it to summarize, rewrite, and explain text in any of the apps that one is using. Microsoft will start testing the features publicly from next month before rolling it out to more users. In addition, there are smaller updates that include support for Bluetooth LE and adding 10 new languages and dialects in live captions, a feature that transcribes audio in real time. 

Microsoft 365 Copilot now also supports plug-ins

This was big news as the AI assistant will support three types of plug-ins, viz. Teams messages extensions, Power Platform connectors and tools that use technology with ChatGPT. Users can also choose from third-party plug-ins such as Atlassian and Adobe. The company also says that it will build Copilot and Bing Chat plug-ins with the same standard that OpenAI uses, which means users can see the same plug-ins across all three AI-powered tools of Microsoft. 

Microsoft Edge gets 365 Copilot integration 

The company is also bringing 365 Copilot to its Edge browser. The tool resides on the sidebar and can use content on the website one is viewing and help work on projects in Microsoft 365 apps such as Outlook, Word, Excel and others. So, one can draft an email, add data to an excel sheet, generate status updates based on chats etc. 

An AI upgrade for Windows Terminal 

This can also be considered big news as an AI-powered chatbot gets integrated with Windows Terminal via tying up with GitHub Copilot. Developers using the latter can utilize the chatbot directly within Terminal to perform multiple actions such as code recommendations. It is also possible that Microsoft brings GitHub Copilot to other developer tools in the future. Microsoft also introduced a Dev Home dashboard that makes it easier to set up Windows dev machines. 

Now ChatGPT can Bing it

Having invested some billions of dollars into OpenAI, Microsoft has now managed to push Bing as the preferred search for ChatGPT Plus users who will start seeing citations appended to the responses from the generative AI tool. There are also reports that Bing would soon start supporting plug-ins from Expedia, Instacard, Kayak, Klama, Redfin, TripAdvisor, Zillow and a few more. But, that’s something for later. 

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