Microsoft wants to bring AI enhancements to Paint, Photos on Windows 11
Windows Copilot may not be the only AI feature that we may get in Windows 11. Microsoft reportedly wants to bring AI enhancements to other apps including Paint, Photos, Snipping Tool and Camera.
The news comes from Windows Central, which cites internal sources from Microsoft. The Redmond company has been working on several AI-related capabilities for its apps on Windows 11. Some of these features may require an NPU (neural processing unit) or a VPU (vision processing unit).
MS Paint, Photos, Snipping Tool and Camera could gain AI features
According to the report, MS Paint may gain support for a generative AI, that you could use to create some art based on criteria that you choose. An internal mock up image shared by the blog, shows a redesigned version of the app with a Magic Paint button in the toolbar, that may be used to access the AI features. We can also see a text box where you can describe the image's content, along with thumbnails, which are likely fetched from the web. The AI-image generator in MS Paint is said to be similar to the one found in Bing Image Creator.
(Image credits: Windows Central)
Moving to the Photos app, the image viewer/editor will allow its built-in AI tool to identify objects and people in photos. The user, may then pick them up and paste them in other apps. This feature sounds remarkably similar to what the Photos app in macOS, iOS and iPadOS can do, and so can Android's Google Photos app, at least on Pixel devices.
Microsoft wants to bring OCR (optical character recognition) to the Snipping Tool. This will grant the tool the ability to identify text in screenshots that it captures, and likely in existing images. The text content from these could be copied to the clipboard, to be pasted in other apps. The company is also said to be bringing a similar OCR feature to the camera up, to take photos and detect text in the media.
The AI features are still in an experimental phase. It is unclear whey they could be released for Windows 11 users. I wonder if these apps will be affected by Microsoft's Services Agreement that was recently updated with clauses about the usage and ownership of AI generated content. This also raises the question whether these AI-related features would work without signing in to a Microsoft account.
Bing Chat has been very popular among users, so it is not really surprising to see that Microsoft wants to incorporate its AI in other apps. The company has embedded it in Microsoft Edge, Skype, and even in the SwitfKey keyboard for Android and iOS. That being said, Microsoft may be overstepping by cramming the AI into practically every app. Not everyone will be a fan of these improvements, but as long as these are optional, i.e. can be disabled, it should not pose a problem for most users. Besides, not everyone may use Edge or Skype, but chances are more people may use Paint, Photos, Snipping Tool, so from Microsoft's perspective, this may be a good way to gain more users onboard.