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Windows 11 looks to be getting AI smarts to improve multitasking

Powering up multitasking through AI seems to be the plan, as a hidden feature for snap layouts has been uncovered in a new test build of Windows 11.

Windows 11 looks to be getting AI smarts to improve multitasking
2 minutes & read time

Windows 11's rumored AI-powered improvement to its snap layouts feature might be a step closer to fruition, with the functionality being discovered in working form (kind of) in the latest preview build of the OS.

The added AI capability, known as 'smart snap,' was spotted in Windows 11's preview build 23435 by a well-known leaker on Twitter, PhantomOfEarth, as well as Windows Latest.

Note that the feature isn't live in testing but is present in the latest preview of Microsoft's OS, and was enabled using a Windows configuration utility. It works, although not properly just yet, as you might expect with a piece of functionality that remains hidden in the background of Windows 11.

You can see it in action in the above tweet, with the broad idea being that the feature can suggest different snap layouts you might want to use. It also remembers layouts for groups of apps you've used previously, allowing them to be conveniently accessed with a single click.

This is a relatively small change in the grand scheme of things for Windows 11, but a useful one, and it shows how AI can work behind the scenes to help the user do things just a little bit more quickly. In this case, it'll definitely be a boon for those folks who commonly use the same apps with snap layouts.

Snap layouts is one of those abilities that has some strong praises sung about it, at least from those users who regularly employ it. That's not everyone, by any means, but Microsoft has done some tweaking in Windows in recent times to make the feature more visible. For instance, the software giant has made the snap layouts flyout appear more quickly (when mousing over the restore button of a window), so you're more likely to see it (and therefore use it).

Expect AI to be integrated more widely with Windows 11 in all sorts of places, no doubt, quite possibly to lend a hand in other areas of the interface. Or indeed in more overt ways, such as the Bing AI chatbot already having made its way into the taskbar (albeit not in the form of full integration).

The big introductions for Windows 11 preview build 23435 (ones that definitely weren't hidden) included a new integrated photo gallery for File Explorer, which is a smart addition for when browsing through your folders of pics.

Less welcome, though, was the sight of Microsoft experimenting with more ads in the Start menu (ones that push local users to sign up for a Microsoft account, following in the footsteps of the nudges to use OneDrive that are already rolling out to some Windows 11 users).

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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