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Microsoft Launcher gets Copilot, Phone Link copies text from Android photos

The Microsoft Launcher gets Copilot AI support and Windows Phone Link can now copy text from images using OCR.
Microsof Phone Link

Microsoft sees AI as an important part of modern operating systems. Accordingly, its in-house solution called Copilot+ is now also available for Windows devices such as the new Surface Laptop. As for smartphones, the company has found a way to bring Copilot to the Android home screen with an upcoming version of Microsoft Launcher.

The Microsoft Launcher with Copilot integration is currently in beta, so you’ll have to join the beta program if you want to try it out right away. Or you can wait until the test is complete and start directly with the stable version. You can start the chat with the AI ​​​​via the Bing/Copilot button in the search widget. In addition, in the latest version of the beta, Copilot is also part of the feed on the far left, where you can also find Google Home.

Copilot changelog:

  • Effortless Access: Copilot is now just a swipe away, ready to assist you with answers and content creation.
  • Creative Power: Generate images and text directly from your mobile feed using simple words.
  • Pro Performance: For our Copilot Pro users, enjoy a more responsive and swift interaction.

When using Copilot, you can type your questions or use voice input. In addition, you can open an image from your gallery and ask questions about it. However, Copilot is currently quite limited in what it can do. Simple tests like setting an alarm or turning off a phone’s Wi-Fi have so far failed.

Microsoft Copilot will gain more functionality in the future through plugins. Currently, only three are available: Search (enabled by default), Instacart (ask for recipes and meal plans), and Kayak (search for flights, stays, and rental cars). As Copilot becomes popular on Android, more companies are likely to develop plugins for it. If you want to try out the new Microsoft Launcher with Copilot integration, you can download it from the Google Play Store. Note that you must sign up for the beta program.

Phone Link is a Microsoft solution that lets you sync your Android smartphone with a Windows computer and share files. And the integration gets even better with a new update that allows you to capture text from Android photos and use it directly on your PC using optical character recognition (OCR).

On the mobile side, Phone Link is called Link to Windows and currently connects Android 14 devices from a select few brands, including Samsung, Honor, OnePlus, Realme, and Oppo. You can then use their apps directly on your PC. OCR copies the text from an image in your gallery and you can paste it directly on your Windows 11 PC.

The text extraction feature in Windows 11 is not new – it was already part of the pre-installed Snipping Tool. The new solution simply skips a step and allows you to use the photographed text directly. The feature is currently included in Insider Preview Build 22635.3646 (beta channel) and should be available to everyone later this year.


Achim Maier
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