February 20 Latest Microsoft News: More Bing tests, monetization, new Xbox games, updates, more

February 20, 2023

Here is the roundup of all the latest Microsoft-related news you need to know.

Microsoft is testing more Bing elements

The test of the improved Bing is still limited to testers, but Microsoft is continuously expanding it to more users. According to Microsoft, the Bing waitlist now consists of millions of individuals. Aside from that, current individuals with access to the new intelligent search engine reported receiving new Bing elements and features. Some of these include the insertion of ads in the chatbot’s responses and the recent availability of Bing’s UI on mobile. Other latest elements being tried by Microsoft now include the mobile view in the Edge sidebar and the “Chat” and “Compose” tabs in the Discover sidebar on the Edge Beta build. Users report that the features are not yet accessible. Furthermore, after a report revealing Bing’s “extra chat modes” (Sydney, Assistant, Friend, and Game), users share that Microsoft is also testing a new “tone” setting in the mobile version of Bing. Though the test is not yet accessible, it can be seen Bing giving users options for “More Creative,” “More Balanced,” and “More Precise” responses.

Monetizing Bing

A recent report shared that Microsoft started talks about monetizing Bing through ads. Early testers shared screenshots of Bing showing ads in chatbot responses instead of just providing simple details about the queries. In addition, Microsoft announced a price increase in Bing Search APIs, which can result in a 1,000% hike in some cases. This is expected to be implemented by the company starting May 1 in all markets.

New Xbox games

Microsoft is adding new games to Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows, and Game Pass this week. Here are the titles to expect alongside their availability dates.

  • Akka Arrh – February 21
  • Atomic Heart – February 21 (Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery / Game Pass)
  • Like a Dragon: Ishin! – February 21 (Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery)
  • Remoteness – February 21 (Optimized for Xbox Series X|S)
  • Animal Lover – February 22 (Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery
  • Arcadia Fallen – February 22 (Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery / Xbox Play Anywhere)
  • Intruders: Hide and Seek – February 22
  • sCATch: The Painter Cat – February 22 (Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery)
  • Webgeon Speedrun Edition – February 22 (Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery)
  • Blood Bowl 3 – February 23 (Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery)
  • Catan: Console Edition – February 23 (Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery)
  • Frog Hop – February 23
  • Midnight is Lost – February 23
  • Planet Cube: Edge – February 23 (Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery)
  • Remorse: The List – February 23
  • Lootbox Lyfe+ – February 24 (Optimized for Xbox Series X|S / Smart Delivery)
  • SimAirport – February 24

Surface Duo and Duo 2 February 2023 firmware update

Microsoft released the February 2023 firmware update for Surface Duo and Duo 2 devices last week. Unfortunately, there are no new features to expect from the update, though it includes a variety of security fixes. Read more about this here.

AI in more Microsoft products

It is no secret that Microsoft wants to inject AI tech into all of its products and services in the future. One of the latest moves Microsoft to make this possible is the reported internal demo for using Copilot and DALL-E in Minecraft. According to the video leaked, integrating the said techs will allow users to instantly perform actions in the video game through commands instead of manually moving their characters.

Lobotomized Sydney

After a series of reports regarding a misbehaving Bing, Microsoft explained that long chat sessions (15 questions or more) could cause the chatbot to experience confusion and deliver responses in unfavorable tones. With this, the Redmond company recently made an update to the new Bing, giving it a new limit in queries it can entertain per conversation. Once the limit is reached, users will now have to create a “new topic.” Also, Bing is no longer responsive to queries that provoke it to respond in odd manners.

Pronouns in Microsoft 365

Microsoft announced that it would include a new option in Microsoft 365 to allow users to identify their pronouns. The company said it would be available in March and an optional feature that companies’ IT admins need to activate. After this, Microsoft plans to include the same function in Teams later this year, allowing users to show their pronouns during meetings.

More Windows 11 tests: widgets, Start menu AI suggestions, taskbar ‘End task’ option

As part of its plan to continuously provide new features to Windows 11 users (and in the hopes of making it more enticing to attract more customers), Microsoft relentlessly conducts tests with Insiders. One of the recent ones we saw in the recent builds released by the company is the addition of preview widgets for Messenger, Spotify, and Game Pass. In a Beta build release last week, Microsoft also included a test for a new AI suggestion capability for the Start menu for devices that are Azure Active Directory (AAD) joined. There is also a hidden function in the Windows 11 Dev Channel Insider build 25300, allowing you to access an “End task” option in the taskbar by right-clicking on the app icon. In the same build release, Microsoft also started testing live captions in more languages.

Xbox February 2023 update

Microsoft started pushing the February 2023 update for Xbox devices. Some of the main improvements in the update include better power management, a new background feature, Google Home app support, and a test related to Xbox Party.

More competitors in the AI market

Microsoft is currently leading the AI war, but it could soon face a huge battle as more tech firms invest in the tech. Apart from Google Bard, You.com already offers its own chatbot named YouChat, which works almost like the ChatGPT-powered Bing bot. Opera also shared a ChatGPT-powered tool called “Shorten,” allowing its browser to generate bulleted summaries of articles. Numerous Chinese companies are also developing and researching ChatGPT-like products and tech.

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