Microsoft made a lot of noise yesterday about the new Windows 11 update, which includes a “typable” search box in the system’s default location on the Taskbar and purportedly puts artificial intelligence at the forefront of the Windows experience. The “feature” is really just an advertisement for Bing.com, but the company is touting it as the update’s main draw.
The way Microsoft describes this new feature update for Windows 11, you might think that the search experience in Windows 11 is now supported by artificial intelligence. However, this is not the case. Unfortunately, Windows Search does not make use of artificial intelligence. Microsoft’s intelligent Bing Chat AI isn’t even built into Windows’ shell interfaces.
Instead, Microsoft revealed yesterday that its new Bing.com chat bot can be accessed directly from the company’s official mobile app, without first requiring users to type “bing.com” into an address bar. Just that, that’s all it is. An advertisement for Bing.com has been added to the Windows Search start page, along with two sample chat questions to help you become familiar with Bing Chat.
If you want to continue using Bing Chat, click any of the Bing Chat buttons or links; doing so will take you away from Windows Search and into Microsoft Edge. Microsoft has not implemented AI-related search improvements in Windows 11’s latest feature rollout.
When you click on a web-related item in Windows Search, Bing Chat opens in Microsoft Edge, so it’s essentially just an advertisement for Bing.com. Moreover, that cannot be altered in any way
With the new AI-powered Bing search box built right into the Windows 10 taskbar, we’ve taken the next big step towards improving the already fantastic scope and usability of Windows PCs. Organizing Windows-specific search tools so they can be quickly accessed.
Over half a billion people use the Windows search box each month, making it one of the platform’s most popular tools. With the new AI-powered Bing at the forefront of this experience, you’ll be able to find the information you need more quickly than ever before.
Not that any artificial intelligence features are being added to Windows 11 in this update; they are. A new AI-powered recommended files feature has been added to Start, but it is only available on PCs that are joined to Azure Active Directory, making it inaccessible to the vast majority of users.
I have a problem with Microsoft’s emphasis on AI features like those found in the Windows search bar and taskbar. The claim is completely false. Artificial intelligence is not being used to improve the Windows user experience in any way, as Microsoft Edge is used for everything.
I’m disappointed that Microsoft is highlighting a new shortcut to Bing.com as the highlight of this update. Better features to highlight from this update include the tablet-friendly Taskbar, enhanced in-box apps, and the ability to use Widgets from third-party developers.
Microsoft could have made the Bing Chat interface work in the Windows Search pane, at least giving the impression of integration, but they didn’t bother with that. Unfortunately, all it does is start up Edge, which is a major letdown. Neither chat transcripts nor replies appear in the Windows Search results window.
Microsoft has, if anything, just done the bare minimum. Adding a feature that creates a shortcut to a website that opens in Edge is not a feature, it is a shortcut.
The latest Windows 11 update has a killer new feature: a shortcut, for crying out loud.