Paint and Photos apps for Windows 11 could soon get an AI boost

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Windows in-box staple apps Paint and Photos may get injected with Microsoft’s artificially intelligent secret sauce as part of the company’s plan to enhance its operating system with various AI technologies.

Zack Bowden over at Windows Central is reporting that sources familiar with Windows development are saying that apps such as Paint, Photos, and Snipping Tool are being experimented with and could offer users AI-enhanced capabilities in a possible future update.

Similar to the updates that came to the Camera and Microphone apps on the Surface Pro 9 powered by Qualcomm, some of these AI-embedded features could be hardware specific, requiring dedicated processors on a chip while others would be delivered through platforms embedded in Windows.

Regarding the specific updates, the Snipping Tool in Windows 11 and future versions could come with optical character recognition (OCR) technology which would allow the software to identify text in images or screenshots and highlight them specifically for copy/paste functions. The same sort of OCR is planned for the Camera app in Windows as part of a platform upgrade to Windows Studio Effects according to Bowden’s sources.

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The Photo apps will gain new tagging and identifying features that will allow it to select objects or people in photos and isolate them from images, ala iPhone’s “Lift subject from background” feature in iOS 16.

Then there is the inclusion of similar Bing Image Creator generative AI capabilities possibly landing in Paint to help move the app beyond its nostalgic clip art renderings from users to more prompt-based creations.

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Bowden is clear in stating that these features are in an experimental phase within Microsoft’s Windows development meaning they may make it to a final app release in the future, they may show up and eventually be shelved like tabbed window support of all apps, or never show up based on internal decisions from the development team.

While Microsoft does have an event planned a month away on September 21, 2023, the new Paint, Snipping Tool, and Photos feature upgrades aren’t expected to make an appearance and may stay concealed until next year when Microsoft is expected to release the follow up to Windows 11.