Microsoft announces Windows Copilot, an AI ‘personal assistant’ for Windows 11
Microsoft is adding a Copilot AI assistant to Windows 11. Much like the Copilot sidebars we’ve seen in Edge, Office apps, and even GitHub, Windows Copilot will be integrated directly into Windows 11 and available to open and use from the taskbar across all apps and programs.
“Once open, the Windows Copilot side bar stays consistent across your apps, programs, and windows, always available to act as your personal assistant,” explains Panos Panay, Microsoft’s head of Windows and devices. “It makes every user a power user, helping you take action, customize your settings, and seamlessly connect across your favorite apps.”
The Windows Copilot can summarize, paraphrase, or explain content you see in apps. It's similar to the Bing chat box, which allows you to ask general questions and things you might want to ask a search engine.
It won’t directly replace the search bar on the Windows 11 taskbar and is a separate Copilot button alongside it instead, much like how Cortana had its own dedicated space on the taskbar in Windows 10. Windows Copilot is a “personal assistant,” according to Microsoft, which sounds a lot like how Microsoft described Cortana as a “personal productivity assistant.”
Since Copilot is integrated into Windows, you can also do things like ask this assistant to “adjust my settings so I can focus” or take other actions on a PC. It’s a lot more than the basic Bing Chat link that Microsoft added to the taskbar earlier this year.
Because Windows Copilot is built on the same foundation as Bing Chat, Microsoft also allows developers to extend plugins written for Bing or ChatGPT OpenAI to this AI-powered assistant. This means that many of the new features that developers are creating for ChatGPT and Bing will be available in Windows Copilot and future improvements will be automatically pushed to Windows Copilot.
Microsoft has been hinting about building AI features into Windows over the past six months, after Panay claimed in January that “AI is going to reinvent how you do everything on Windows.” Many had been expecting Microsoft to wait until the next major version of Windows, but the company is clearly pushing ahead with its Windows AI ambitions instead.
Microsoft will begin public testing of Windows Copilot in June before making it available to existing Windows 11 users.