29 May 2023
They just won't say when that'll actually happen.
There are vanishingly few places in Microsoft's business ecosystem that remain untouched by January's OpenAI deal, with GPT-4 backed chatbot and generative capabilities coming to Office products like Word and Excel, Bing Search, and integrated directly into the Edge browser. During the Microsoft Build 2023 conference on Tuesday, company executives clarified and confirmed that its 365 Copilot AI — the same one going into Office — will be "natively integrated" into the Edge browser.
Microsoft 365 Copilot essentially takes all of your Graph information — data from your Calendar, Word docs, emails and chat logs — and smashes them together, using the informatic slurry in training an array of large language models, to provide AI-backed assistance personalized to your business.
"You can type natural language requests like 'Tell my team how we updated the product strategy today,'" Lindsay Kubasik, Group Product Manager, Edge Enterprise wrote in a Tuesday blog post. "Microsoft 365 Copilot will generate a status update based on the morning’s meetings, emails and chat threads."
By integrating 365 Copilot into the browser itself, users will be able to request additional context even more directly. "As you’re looking at a file your colleague shared, you can simply ask, 'What are the key takeaways from this document?'” and get answers from 365 Copilot in real-time. Even on-page search (ctrl+F) is getting smarter thanks to the deeper integration. The company is also incorporating the same open plugin standard launched by OpenAI, ensuring interoperability between ChatGPT and 365 Copilot products.
But it's not ready for rollout just yet and there's no word on when that will change. "Microsoft 365 Copilot is currently in private preview," a Microsoft rep told Engadget. "Microsoft 365 Copilot will be natively integrated into Microsoft Edge, and we will have more to share at a later date."
On the other hand, Microsoft's digital co-working product, Edge Workspaces, will be moving out of preview altogether in the coming months, Kubasik noted. Workspaces allows teams to share links, project websites and working files as a shared set of secured browser tabs. Furthermore, the company is "evolving" its existing work experience into Microsoft Edge for Business. This will include unique visual elements and cues — which should begin rolling out to users today — along with "enterprise controls, security, and productivity features" designed to help keep remote workers' private lives better separated from their work lives.
The company recognizes the need for "a new browser model that enhances users’ privacy while maintaining crucial, enterprise grade controls set at the organizational level," Kubasik wrote. "Microsoft Edge for Business honors the needs of both end users and IT Pros as the browser that automatically separates work and personal browsing into dedicated browser windows with their own separate caches and storage locations, so information stays separate."
Microsoft Edge for Business enters preview today on managed devices. If your organization isn't already using the Edge ecosystem, fear not, a preview for unmanaged devices is in the works for the coming months.
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