Microsoft’s Copilot is exclusive to Windows 11 – we know Windows 10 is feature-locked at this point, with nothing new coming to the OS going forward – but Windows 10 users will get a taste of the AI assistant, it seems.
Not integrated with the operating system, of course, but those who use Edge on Windows 10 will get Copilot in Microsoft’s browser.
Windows Latest has got to play with ‘Copilot for Edge’ (apparently also informally known as ‘actions’) and it’s basically the same as Copilot in Windows 11, facilitating the changing of various settings, but in the browser environment rather than OS.
As the tech site points out, at this early stage, functionality is limited as you might expect, but you can, for example, turn virtual tabs on by asking Copilot in Edge. Or you can switch dark mode on with the browser.
Copilot will be bolted onto the existing Bing AI sidebar in Edge, so this basically represents additional functionality for this part of the interface.
Right now, Copilot for Edge is rolling out to select users testing the browser. This is a phased rollout, we’re told, as is usually the case with big new features, where Microsoft wants to try them out with a small audience at first while the company works out all the inevitable kinks.
Well-known Edge tester and leaker Leopeva64 (on Twitter) has also been following developments on this functionality, and observes that it works with voice input, so those with a mic can speak to Copilot for Edge and give it direct instructions.
Changing different Edge settings from the Bing Chat pane is easier and more convenient using voice input, I didn't have the microphone button when I first tweeted about this new feature but now I do…https://t.co/aNQjneZq6M.https://t.co/DNtRMklbNp.https://t.co/5xviNpQRfv pic.twitter.com/GnR1qBiiDTJuly 19, 2023
Analysis: Edge of tomorrow
How many folks use Edge? Not that many, of course, but this is part of the reason Microsoft will more than likely follow through with this effort. It’s very keen to push its Edge browser to as many folks as possible to move the dial in the battle against Google’s dominant Chrome browser.
While only Windows 11 users get the real Copilot actually in the desktop OS, Microsoft doubtless figures that those remaining on Windows 10 might just be a bit more tempted to try out Edge if getting Copilot features – even in a relatively small way – is on the menu.
That said, Copilot will likely be more than a flimsy carrot dangled in front of browser users. It should be an impressive step forward for Edge if it’s anything like the expected implementation of Copilot in Windows 11, which will be able to pull off all sorts of tricks – or at least that’s Microsoft's plan.
In Windows 11, you’ll be able to make broad requests like ‘adjust settings to help me be more productive’ and we can’t see why Edge’s Copilot won’t work the same way eventually, instigating a potentially sweeping range of settings changes based on a simple request.
We’re guessing that Edge for Copilot should arrive in a similar timeframe to the AI in Windows 11, which in theory is later this year (with the 23H2 update), at least if the rumor mill is right. (We’re skeptical though, frankly).