As was widely predicted, Microsoft has used its AI keynote event today to announce a deep integration of artificial intelligence within Bing. Also as widely predicted, it is long-time partner OpenAI that is driving that AI. However, it turns out it is not ChatGPT driving new Bing, but rather a special AI built by OpenAI for Microsoft.
Although, the underpinning technology is the same that powers ChatGPT. However, it seems either OpenAI or Microsoft (perhaps both) want to keep the ChatGPT branding out of the equation. Instead, the partners are talking about the AI of new Bing being an upgraded version of the ChatGPT AI.
Sure, neither company is saying it, but this is ChatGPT-4, instead of the 3.5 that is currently available in preview. This may mean Bing will remain a version or more ahead in terms of its AI capabilities compared to the ChatGPT that is publicly available. It is worth remembering OpenAI plans to charge for a ChatGPT Professional version in the near future.
As a multi-billion-dollar investor (reportedly up to $10 billion), Microsoft is said to take 49% of all profits from OpenAI.
New Bing is launching along with an upgraded version of the Edge browser. In fact, Microsoft is discussing the two products in a more unified way than ever before. They say Bing and Edge are now copilots. While Microsoft does not say the new AI-driven Bing will be Edge exclusive, it is easy to see how that may happen and reignite the browser wars.
Although, at the moment Microsoft seems happy enough with creating a search war with Google, alongside an AI war.
Announcing the product today, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella described the service as “a new day for search”. During the event, Microsoft was taking clear shots at Google by saying search has been stagnant for 20 years, with very little innovation beyond improvements.
How it Works
By bringing conversational natural language processing AI into search, Microsoft says it is taking that innovative step. The company promises more fluid search results with life-like responses. Furthermore, the new Bing will also become a copilot feature in Microsoft Edge. The company says this will be a “sleeker, lighter, integrated Bing in a really cool new way.”
Testing the feature, The Verge points out that the similarities to how the AI works in Bing and ChatGPT are obvious:
“This all feels very similar to ChatGPT in this Bing chat interface but with added sources and feedback buttons. It feels less copilot and way more full-on chatbot, and the sources are just domains with no real indication what you're going to navigate to.”
The Bing AI copilot will scrape data from websites, which are listed in the footnote of the AI response. It is going to be interesting to see how those sites feel about their content basically being used for free to inform the AI response. Bing's OpenAI integration simply says “according to” and then names the website before giving the answer.
This may raise copyright issues in the same way as GitHub Copilot. That is another Microsoft/OpenAI project that scrapes code data to help users fill in gaps with their code. Copilot is controversial and is already facing legal issues over how it takes data without permission.
Will it Work?
There are plenty of questions still hanging over the new Bing and its AI integration. Chief among them is how will the system work in the real world. More importantly, do users even want this product? Many people are likely to be happy enough with the simplicity of search as they know it. Microsoft's challenge is to make its AI just as seamless without complicating the search experience.
Google is almost certainly going to pursue similar integrations with its search engine as the AI war kicks into gear.
There is also the inconvenient truth of ChatGPT's preview in recent months. The AI – like others of its kind – have a habit of returning wrong information. That is less than ideal for searching, but even more problematic when that incorrect information is usually presented with an air of authority that makes it seem legitimate.
If ChatGPT has been untrustworthy up to this point, why is the AI suddenly ready to serve as a backbone for Microsoft's goals to transform search with Bing?
You can find out for yourself by checking out the new Bing in limited preview. The site seems to be limited to Edge dev channel users, but it allows you to have a certain number of searches with the AI.
Tip of the day: Having problems with pop-ups and unwanted programs in Windows? Try the hidden adware blocker of Windows Defender. We show you how to turn it on in just a few steps.