Microsoft adds Copilot Pro support to iPhone and Android apps

Microsoft's Copilot iPad app with Pro support

screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Those of you who subscribe to Microsoft’s AI-powered Copilot Pro service will now be able to access all the Pro features through the iOS and Android apps. On Friday, Microsoft added Pro support to the two mobile apps as the company had previously promised.

Also: The best AI image generators to try right now

For $20 a month, Copilot Pro is a premium flavor of the free Copilot service, providing generative AI smarts to answer your questions, respond to your requests, and generate text and images. The Pro version offers a few enhanced features over the free edition, including:

  • Faster performance and priority access to GPT-4 and GPT-4 Turbo during peak times.
  • Copilot availability in certain Microsoft 365 apps (Microsoft 365 Personal or Family subscription required)
  • Faster AI image creation with 100 boosts per day using Designer (formerly Bing Image Creator)
  • And on the way, according to Microsoft, is the ability to create your own custom and tailored Copilot GPTs via a new Copilot Builder tool, just like with ChatGPT Pro.

Both the free and paid versions of Copilot are accessible on the web, through a Taskbar icon in Windows 10 and 11, and now through the iPhone and Android apps. After signing up for a Pro subscription at the Copilot Pro website, the Pro version will automatically show up on the website, on the Windows Taskbar, and in the mobile apps. You can easily tell because the word Pro will appear as part of the Copilot name.

But here’s the $64 question (or maybe the $20 question), is the Pro version worth the subscription cost? Well, that depends. Unless you’re using Copilot constantly through the day and need the GPT-4 priority access and quick image creation, the only real benefit at this

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Microsoft Phone Link could let you use your Android phone as a webcam

Windows Phone Link icon

Robert Triggs / Android Authority

TL;DR

  • Code within the Link to Windows app suggests that Microsoft could let you use your Android phone as a video stream for your laptop, possibly acting like a webcam.
  • The video stream has been spotted with features like filters and effects like auto-framing.
  • The feature could potentially compete against Apple’s Continuity Camera features.

Microsoft Phone Link, previously known as Microsoft Your Phone, is a nifty tool, especially if you have a recent Samsung flagship or a OnePlus 11 on Android 14. The tool comprises the Phone Link app on Windows devices and the companion Link to Windows app on Android phones. Together, they let you control your phone from your computer, and it’s the closest we’ve come to emulating Apple’s ecosystem synergy with Android and Windows. Microsoft could soon add one more synergized feature to the list, as the company is working on possibly letting you use your Android phone as a webcam with Windows computers.

An APK teardown helps predict features that may arrive on a service in the future based on work-in-progress code. However, it is possible that such predicted features may not make it to a public release.

Code

<string name="camera_activity_launch_notification_content">Tap this notification to allow your PC to stream your camera video</string>
<string name="camera_activity_button_pause">Pause Video</string>
<string name="camera_activity_button_resume">Resume Video</string>
<string name="camera_activity_launch_notification_title">Tap to start camera stream</string>
<string name="camera_activity_lock_notification_title">Unlock your phone to start your video</string>
<string name="camera_activity_button_dnd">Do not disturb</string>
<string name="camera_activity_button_swap_camera_to_back">Switch to Back</string>
<string name="camera_activity_button_swap_camera_to_front">Switch to Front</string>

These strings indicate that once Microsoft’s Phone Link app is working on both connected devices, users would be able to start a camera stream that lets their phone’s camera be available to their Windows PC. The strings do not explicitly mention “webcam,” but other clues indicate that the feature would be related to video calls

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Microsoft Advertising Shares Holiday Season Marketing Playbook

As the holiday shopping season approaches its zenith, advertisers are keenly preparing for the final rush of consumer spending. Microsoft Advertising provides insights and strategies to help businesses capitalize on the festive season in its Festive Season Marketing Playbook.

The focus is on understanding consumer behaviors and leveraging Microsoft’s advertising capabilities to maximize reach and revenue.

1. Revenue Peaks: A Matter of Timing

Despite some advertisers not yet seeing a peak in revenue, there is no cause for alarm.

Historically, significant revenue spikes are observed around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year, consumers are anticipated to spend more during these critical days.

The National Retail Federation predicts a 3-4% increase in holiday spending in the US, potentially reaching up to $966.6 billion. Similarly, high spending is forecasted in the UK and Germany, emphasizing the global impact of this season.

2. Shift in Consumer Behavior: The Rise of Deal-Seeking

A notable trend this year is the increased emphasis on deal-seeking.

Over two-thirds of US shoppers are spending more time looking for coupons and deals, particularly around the ‘Cyber-5’ period.

This period, including Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Sunday, and Cyber Monday, has become a crucial window for consumer spending.

Advertisers must adapt to this trend and align their strategies accordingly.

3. The Central Role of Search in Purchasing Decisions

Search remains a crucial component in guiding both online and in-store purchases. It’s a pivotal tool for discovering new retailers, conducting pre-purchase research, and comparing prices.

Gen X consumers, for example, heavily rely on search to find the best prices. Additionally, the EMEA region sees deal-seekers spending 33% more time searching than average shoppers.

This trend provides a significant opportunity for targeted advertising, primarily through platforms like Microsoft Advertising, which taps into billions of global monthly searches.

4. Post Cyber-5

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What’s New in Microsoft Teams | August 2023

Welcome to the August 2023 edition of What’s New in Teams! Following a month of great announcements from Microsoft Inspire 2023, we are not slowing down by bringing you 52 new features and devices for the month of August.

We have a great line-up of new features to announce. My personal favorites are Animated Backgrounds in Teams Meetings which allows me to replace their existing background with a dynamic animation for a more immersive virtual environment and the Task lists sync in Microsoft Loop to sync my to-do list across my Microsoft Planner and To Do apps to ensure I do not miss important tasks. And every month we add new devices that certified and ready to use for Teams. Find devices that are certified for Teams for all types of spaces and uses at aka.ms/teamsdevices.

 

Please read about all the updates and let me know your thoughts! I’ll do my best to respond and answer questions as they come up.

 

Meetings

Webinars

Teams Phone

Chat and Collaboration

Teams Rooms and Devices

Frontline Workers and Vertical Solutions

IT Admin and Security

Mobile

Platform

Teams Premium

Teams for Education

 

 

Meetings

Animated Backgrounds
The dynamic background feature in Teams Meetings allows you to replace their existing background with a dynamic animation for a more immersive virtual environment. It offers various options to enhance meeting experience with creativity and personalization according to their preferences.

Before a meeting starts, on the pre-join screen, select Effects and Avatars > Video effects and select a new animated background, identified by the small video icon in the bottom-left corner of the preview picture. During a meeting, you can select an animated background by clicking More > Effects and Avatars > Select a background.

Video Effects.png

Learn more about this feature here.

 

Webinars

Join public webinars with

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Microsoft Advertising Releases Holiday Season Marketing Guide

Microsoft Advertising has launched a comprehensive guide to aid marketers in devising efficient ad strategies for the holiday season.

The guide, “Your Festive Season Marketing Playbook,” aims to assist advertising teams in understanding and responding to evolving customer behaviors and trends as we approach the much-anticipated holiday shopping period.

Early Planning & Clever Budgeting

The guide emphasizes the importance of beginning campaign planning early.

Data from previous years indicates that brands experienced a significant increase in website traffic and purchases during September and October throughout the U.S. and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region.

These months saw 44% of ad clicks and 40% of conversions at 5% lower cost-per-click (CPC).

As for Australian shoppers, they tend to commence their holiday shopping at the start of November.

Brands should plan their budgets accordingly to leverage the entire holiday season.

The Impact Of October Clicks

The Playbook underscores the vital role October clicks play in holiday conversions.

On average, 67% of purchases in November and 50% in December could be traced back to consumer clicks in October.

Microsoft Advertising recommends using remarketing, in-market audiences, and its automated bidding strategies to capture this segment of deal seekers, who engage in multiple searches before purchasing.

The Rise Of Deal Seeking

Furthermore, the Playbook draws attention to the rising trend of deal-seeking among consumers, particularly in the U.S., where more than two-thirds of shoppers spend considerable time searching for coupons and deals. EMEA-based deal seekers reportedly spend 33% more time on search activities than the average shopper.

The Payoff Of Diversified Ad Strategies

Microsoft’s holiday advertising Playbook highlights the benefits of a diversified ad strategy.

According to data from the Microsoft Advertising Network, 28% of holiday ad clicks come from mobile devices, which account for 22% of total retail conversions.

This insight underscores the

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Microsoft Advertising launches new video ad product

Microsoft Advertising has launched a new video ad offering called Video and Connected TV (CTV) ads.

You can use this feature to create online video and CTV ad campaigns right within the Microsoft Advertising platform.

The new product offers “a special reach across large-scale properties” to help ensure your ad is served to your target audience.

Why we care. The Video and Connected TV (CTV) feature expands ad-serving possibilities while leveraging audience intelligence to target high-value customers, increasing the likelihood of conversions.

Getting started. There are no set-up fees, no long onboarding processes, and campaigns are simple to optimize.

To get started, simply upload your video assets that best represent your brand, decide who you want to show your ads to then choose how often people should see your video ads across multiple devices. This can all be done in just a few clicks.

How it works. Microsoft’s audience intelligence goes well beyond just search intent. It’s a collection of authorized first-party data from various sources, all working together to connect you with your target audience.

Microsoft then applies machine learning algorithms to create audiences founded on consumer product and brand preferences, purchase history, content preferences, and geographical location. This approach is designed to improve targeted ads to help advertisers reach your best audiences.

Where are Video and Connected TV (CTV) ads served? Video and Connected TV (CTV) ads are served across Microsoft’s sites, publisher partners and on connected TV in the US:

  • Microsoft Start
  • MSN
  • CNN
  • Hulu
  • The Washing Post
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • People
  • and many more

More publishers are expected to be announced soon as the product is rolled out to markets outside of the US.


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