Microsoft is testing new AI features in Windows 11, including OCR and object removal

Microsoft is testing new AI features in Windows 11, including OCR and object removal

Windows 11 could be getting a slew of AI-powered features on top of Copilot, which is already in testing.

Source: Microsoft

Key Takeaways

  • Windows 11 is getting AI-powered features, such as Copilot, OCR in the Camera app and Snipping Tool, and object removal in the Photos app.
  • OCR in the Camera app allows users to extract and edit text from images, similar to Google Lens or Live Text on iOS.
  • The Paint app will have generative AI, enabling users to create images based on a description and easily edit or annotate them, enhancing productivity.

Microsoft has been all about AI for the past few months, and Windows 11 is already getting a taste of that with Copilot, which is currently in testing with Insiders in most channels and expected in version 23H2. However, there’s a lot more to come, as the company is also working on other AI-powered features across Windows 11 apps, including the classic Paint, as well as the Photos and Camera apps.

Optical character recognition (OCR)

Mockup of the Windows 11 Camera app with OCR recognizing text in an image

Credit: Windows Central

One of the big features reported by Windows Central‘s Zac Bowden is support for optical character recognition, or OCR, in the Camera app as well as Snipping Tool. OCR means that the computer can recognize text from an image and render it as actual text you can copy and edit as needed. OCR in the Camera app will be similar to Google Lens or Live Text on iOS, meaning you can take a picture of a sign or document and easily grab text from it.

In the Snipping Tool, this feature is probably reminiscent of what Microsoft already offers with PowerToys, which can grab text from a screenshot so you can more easily copy it.

Object removal in Photos

Another notable capability that’s being worked on is the ability to identify and select objects from pictures in the Photos app. Again, this is something we’ve seen on platforms like iOS and Android, but if you’re not aware of it, this essentially means that the Photos app can identify objects in a picture and then make it possible to copy those elements and paste them elsewhere, so you can use them in another app to compose a final image, for example.

Generative AI in Paint

Mockup screenshot of Paint in Windows 11 with generative AI capabilities allowing users to generate images using words

Credit: Windows Central

Finally, the classic Paint app — which just recently got an update with dark mode — is also getting an AI power-up, if Microsoft’s internal tests are anything to go by. In this case, Microsoft is testing generative AI to allow users to create images based on a description, similar to what the company already offers with Bing Image Creator. Having this feature built into Paint would mean you have an easy way to quickly edit or annotate the generated images for whatever you’re working on.

One thing that’s not mentioned in the report is when these features might be making their way to users. It’s been reported for a while that Windows 12 will have a big focus on AI, but with Copilot already set to roll out later this year, it’s certainly possible we’ll see more features show up sooner rather than later. Microsoft has an event coming next month, and the report indicates that AI will be one of the focal points, on top of introducing new devices like the Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop Studio 2.

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