Sunday, April 14, 2024

SwiftKey: After Bing Chat AI comes Copilot

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Copilot in Swiftkey

Less than a year after adding Bing Chat AI to SwiftKey, Microsoft is now in the process of replacing the implementation with Copilot. SwiftKey is a popular virtual keyboard solution for Android and iOS.

Microsoft acquired SwiftKey more than eight years ago. The third-party keyboard solution had over 300 million users on Android and iOS at the time.

A lot happened in the eight years since the acquisition. The Android version alone was downloaded more than 1 billion times as of February 2024. Microsoft renamed the app to Microsoft SwiftKey AI Keyboard to hammer home the fact that it is now an AI company first and foremost. It is not the only product that was renamed; Microsoft Edge is now the AI Browser on mobile.

Swiftkey users may see the new Copilot icon when the virtual keyboard opens on their devices. The new icon should be visible already on Android for all users. Apple iOS users get access to Copilot in Swiftkey over time.

Microsoft confirms the integration of Copilot in Swiftkey in the official changelog:

Microsoft SwiftKey comes with Copilot — your everyday AI companion. You can ask AI anything in your favorite apps.

Copilot functionality: Same old

If you had hopes that the integration of Copilot would improve the virtual keyboards spell checking capabilities, then you are sadly mistaken.

At least for now, Copilot in Swiftkey offers the same functionality as Copilot elsewhere. Tap on the icon, agree to the terms, and start interacting with the AI.

Like any other interaction with Copilot, this one requires an active connection to the Internet. Write something, press send, and wait for Copilot to return its response.

Eagle-eyed users will notice a compose option. This may be used to ask Copilot to write text. You still need to describe what you want, pick a tone, length and format. It is usually faster to type something directly, especially in conversations.

Still, the integration of Copilot in the keyboard unlocks access to Microsoft’s AI in any application that supports text input. It should give Microsoft’s usage statistics another boost.

As far as usability is concerned, that is for the individual user to decide. Swiftkey users who do not need Copilot may use the customization options to remove it from the toolbar.

Closing Words

Microsoft continues to add AI to seemingly everything. Many upcoming Windows AI PCs will even feature a dedicated Copilot key on the keyboard.

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