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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Windows 11’s new AI feature could add depth to your desktop backgrounds

There has been a lot of buzz about Microsoft’s Bing AI in the past few weeks, and the search engine’s usage has skyrocketed as a result.

While Microsoft’s OpenAI ChatGPT is the foundation for Bing AI. To the average user, it does not appear that Microsoft’s AI investments have significantly altered the way Windows or Office functions. Microsoft’s history indicates that the company will incorporate AI into its already established product lines.

Microsoft hasn’t integrated artificial intelligence (AI) into Windows 11 in any major way, outside of the Bing AI shortcut on the taskbar and the ability to reduce background noise. Improvements to Microsoft Teams filter out distracting background noise, while the new Bing AI shortcut in the taskbar doesn’t do much of anything.

This may soon alter, however, with the introduction of “AI-powered Depth Effects” in Windows 11. Artificial intelligence (AI) could be used in “Depth effects,” which appears to be powered by Microsoft’s internal AI work, to give the images in the background a sense of depth.

Windows 11 AI personalization feature
Artificial intelligence should be used to enhance background images with depth when possible.

Accessible via Windows Settings > Personalization > Background, this function can be toggled on and off as needed.

Microsoft’s plans for enhancing desktop backdrops with artificial intelligence are unclear. The preview build hints at the company’s desire to give the wallpapers a subtle multilayered aesthetic feel, creating a calming sense of depth.

Windows 11 could use the image’s depth data in the same way that Apple’s iOS does, blurring some parts of the picture while leaving others in sharp focus.

Using depth mapping software like Adobe After Effects, you can see how adding depth effects to images can drastically alter their visual appeal.

More AI features coming to Windows 11

Similarly, snap layouts (also known as Snap Assist) make it simple to resize and reposition windows in various applications.

You may already be aware that in Windows 11, moving the mouse pointer over an app’s window (near the maximize button) brings up a snap diagram that lets you arrange other windows to make room for the active one.

Windows’ Snap layouts feature has always been fantastic for managing and rearranging apps, and now it’s even better thanks to the addition of AI. The snap layouts feature, powered by AI, will remember the groups of apps that you have snapped, allowing you to quickly switch between the most frequently used layouts and bring back the apps in the layout with a single click.

These improvements are planned for Windows 11, and they won’t require artificial intelligence to function. It’s Windows 12 which may come out in 2024 according to rumors.

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