Windows 11 could soon gain support for artificial intelligence (AI) features as Microsoft is reportedly working on adding support for automation and AI to its popular desktop operating system and related products. The Redmond-based software company’s Windows 11 operating system comes with Photos and Paint apps for image viewing and basic manipulation, respectively. According to a report, these apps could soon gain support for features that include optical character recognition (OCR) and creating images on the fly using generative AI.
According to a Windows Central report citing unnamed sources, Microsoft is working on adding AI features to three applications — Photos, Camera, Paint, and the Snipping Tool that is used to capture screenshots. These applications are available on Windows 11 out-of-the-box and the new functionality could be added via app updates on the Microsoft Store or via the company’s regular feature updates to the operating system.
The firm is considering the possibility of adding support for generative AI to the Microsoft Paint app, which would allow the basic image manipulation tool to generate images using prompts on the fly and edit them in the app. Microsoft previously introduced support for generating images with user-provided prompts on its revamped AI-powered Bing app, along with OpenAI’s DALL-E text to image model.
Meanwhile, the Photos app, which is the default app used to open images on Windows 11, as well as the Snipping Tool, could both get a feature that is currently available on smartphones — OCR support. This is a feature that can come in handy for millions of users and will eliminate the need to use online services that offer the same functionality. The report also contains an image of an internal build of the Camera app with OCR support to detect text from a photo of a page.
There’s no word on if or when Microsoft will eventually roll out these features to Windows users, while some of these features could require dedicated hardware for neural computation to work reliably. Windows 11 is expected to get a major software upgrade next year, which is reportedly when many AI features could make their way to the operating system. However, some of these features are still “experimental” which means it could be a while before they roll out to users, according to the report.