Microsoft has joined the artificial intelligence (AI) chat revolution that, in the last 10 days alone, saw pacesetter ChatGPT launch a commercial version, and Google lifting the lid on its competing AI platform, Bard.
On Wednesday, Microsoft CEO Sata Nadella announced both an AI-powered Bing search engine and AI built into the Edge browser. The aim: to bring together search, browsing and chat into one unified experience, delivering better search scenarios, more comprehensive answers, a chat experience and the ability to generate content.
“AI will fundamentally change every software category, starting with the largest category of all – search,” said Nadella. “We’re launching Bing and Edge powered by AI copilot and chat, to help people get more from search and the web.”
Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft consumer chief marketing officer, wrote in a blog: “These tools can serve as your AI co-pilot for the web.”
He provided the following overview:
- Better search. The new Bing gives you an improved version of the familiar search experience, providing more relevant results for simple things like sports scores, stock prices and weather, along with a new sidebar that shows more comprehensive answers if you want them.
- Complete answers. Bing reviews results from across the web to find and summarize the answer you’re looking for. For example, you can get detailed instructions for how to substitute eggs for another ingredient in a cake you are baking right in that moment, without scrolling through multiple results.
- A new chat experience. For more complex searches – such as for planning a detailed trip itinerary or researching what TV to buy – Bing offers new, interactive chat. The chat experience empowers you to refine your search until you get the complete answer you are looking for by asking for more details, clarity and ideas – with links available so you can immediately act on your decisions.
- A creative spark. There are times when you need more than an answer – you need inspiration. The new Bing can generate the content to help you. It can help you write an email, create a 5-day itinerary for a dream vacation to Hawaii, with links to book your travel and accommodations, prep for a job interview or create a quiz for trivia night. The new Bing also cites all its sources, so you’re able to see links to the web content it references.
- New Microsoft Edge experience. We’ve updated the Edge browser with AI capabilities and a new look, and we’ve added two functionalities: Chat and compose. With the Edge Sidebar, you can ask for a summary of a lengthy financial report to get the key takeaways – and then use the chat function to ask for a comparison to a competing company’s financials and automatically put it in a table. You can also ask Edge to help you compose content, such as a LinkedIn post, by giving it a few prompts to get you started. After that, you can ask it to help you update the tone, format and length of the post. Edge can understand the web page you’re on and adapts accordingly.
- Next-generation OpenAI model. We’re excited to announce the new Bing is running on a new, next-generation OpenAI large language model that is more powerful than ChatGPT and customized specifically for search. It takes key learnings and advancements from ChatGPT and GPT-3.5 – and it is even faster, more accurate and more capable.
- Microsoft Prometheus model. We have developed a proprietary way of working with the OpenAI model that allows us to best leverage its power. We call this collection of capabilities and techniques the Prometheus model. This combination gives you more relevant, timely and targeted results, with improved safety.
- Applying AI to core search algorithm. We’ve also applied the AI model to our core Bing search ranking engine, which led to the largest jump in relevance in two decades. With this AI model, even basic search queries are more accurate and more relevant.
- New user experience. We’re reimagining how you interact with search, browser and chat by pulling them into a unified experience. This will unlock a completely new way to interact with the web.
Microsoft is also working closely with OpenAI, developers of ChatGPT, in which it has made a $10-billion investment.
“Together with OpenAI, we’ve also been intentional in implementing safeguards to defend against harmful content,” said Mehdi. “Our teams are working to address issues such as misinformation and disinformation, content blocking, data safety and preventing the promotion of harmful or discriminatory content in line with our AI principles.
“The work we are doing with OpenAI builds on our company’s yearslong effort to ensure that our AI systems are responsible by design. We will continue to apply the full strength of our responsible AI ecosystem – including researchers, engineers and policy experts – to develop new approaches to mitigate risk.”
The new Bing is available in a limited preview, at Bing.com