Microsoft could be readying an updated version of its Bing search engine that will leverage artificial intelligence to surface chat results. To achieve this, the company will use an integration of ChatGPT, a chatbot from long-time partner OpenAI. In its report, The Information says Microsoft will target Google Search dominance with its ChatGPT Bing.
Microsoft’s development is advanced enough that a launch of ChatGPT Bing could land before the close of March. Either way, the move will seek to provide a truly alternative search experience to Google.
Bing still lags far behind Google Search. According to Statcounter, Google has a 92.21% share of the market as of December 2022, while Bing is way down on 3.42%.
ChatGPT is an OpenAI project that is built on top of the GPT-3 autocomplete text generator. A demo of the chatbot was released in late November and is available from OpenAI here (log in required). ChatGPT can provide accurate answers to trivia questions, while also being able to generate AI content such as poems and songs.
Another feature of the AI is the ability to help debug code, which could make it an ideal companion for GitHub Copilot. However, there have been plenty of reports that ChatGPT often gives wrong answers that look correct. This confusion led to Stack Overflow temporarily banning the chatbot last month.
ChatGPT in Bing
Despite those problems, it seems Microsoft believes in ChatGPT enough to make it a core component of the Bing ecosystem. However, the early performance of the chatbot raises an interesting question.
Google Search is known for its accurate search results that also provide multiple result alternatives for users to choose from. It uses site referencing and analytics to surface results. If ChatGPT becomes the core of Bing, would it only be surfacing AI responses? Worse, it would be no way to know if the search results are accurate or not.
Considering the early teething problems of ChatGPT, it is certain Microsoft is considering these potential issues. It seems likely the company will be solving those problems before baking the chatbot into Bing.
For example, using the AI to surface multiple results as a standard search would. Another possibility is ChatGPT simply becomes a component of Bing and chatbot results will sit alongside standard search results.
Microsoft has a long-standing partnership with OpenAI. The company a $1 billion investor in the AI research group in 2019, allowing Azure to power all cloud services from the open-source organization. Microsoft also has an exclusive license of the GPT-3 API from OpenAI.
We have seen that license put to effective use across several important projects.
At Ignite 2022 last year, Microsoft announced its latest project with GPT-3.
Developers using the Microsoft Azure Open AI Service can now access the AI known as DALL∙E 2. This is a model that provides realistic AI images, generating them from art and adding natural language descriptions to them.
To develop the DALL∙E 2 AI, Microsoft built a supercomputer exclusive for OpenAI that runs on Azure. This is the same supercomputer that also trained OpenAI’s GPT-3. Alongside support for the AI on Azure OpenAI Service, it is also available on Windows 11 through the new Microsoft Designer app.
Perhaps the biggest – and most controversial – collaboration between Microsoft and OpenAI is GitHub Copilot. Introduced in 2021, Copilot is a service that accesses available open source code to help developers fill gaps in their own code. It taps into work from Microsoft-owned GitHub and gives programmers tools to write code more efficiently and quickly.
The system runs on a new AI platform developed by OpenAI known as Codex. Despite receiving widespread criticism from open-source copyright advocates, Copilot eventually made its full launch debut in June 2022.
Despite Microsoft’s ongoing development of GitHub Copilot, it is not without its issues. The service is facing A class action lawsuit by Matthew Butterick, who claims Microsoft is violating GitHub’s policies and code ethics such as attribution. Elsewhere, a recent study shows Copilot may produce less accurate and less secure code than human developers.
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