On Feb. 7 Microsoft revelated the latest version of its search engine Bing during an event at their Redmond headquarters.

This same artificial intelligence technology is also the basis for the company’s chatbot, ChatGPT. Microsoft is launching this new version of Bing along with new AI-enhanced features for its Edge browser, promising to provide users with an improved experience for browsing the web and finding information online.

“It’s a new day in search,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the launch event.

Nadella pointed out that the web search paradigm hasn’t changed in decades, but AI has the potential to provide information in a more fluid and quick manner.

“The race starts today, and we’re going to move and move fast,” Nadella added. “Most importantly, we want to have a lot of fun innovating again in search, because it’s high time.”

The new Bing will offer insights and annotations to users’ web searches. In demonstrations, Microsoft showed the capabilities of the new Bing. The new search engine will work in various configurations, with one demo showing traditional search results alongside AI annotations. Another mode of operation allows users to talk directly to the Bing chatbot, asking it questions in a chat interface like ChatGPT.

Microsoft demonstrated several example searches, including querying Bing for recipes, travel tips, and shopping for furniture from Ikea. In one demonstration, Bing was asked “How do I pick the best dog breed for me?” The question was answered entirely by the chatbot, which provided a rough itinerary along with links to sources for more information.

Bing ChatGPT search

Bing ChatGPT search Photo credit: Chester Chan

The new Bing can also retrieve news about recent events and can answer questions about its own launch by citing news stories published in the last hour.

The features of the new Bing are all powered by an upgraded version of GPT 3.5, the AI OpenAI language model that powers ChatGPT. Microsoft has named this upgraded version the “Prometheus Model.” It is more powerful than GPT 3.5, capable of providing up-to-date information and annotated answers to search queries.

As of now, the new Bing is live for desktop limited preview, but users are only able to ask one of a number of preset queries and receive the same results each time. However, a waitlist is available for users to sign up for full access in the future.

Along with the new Bing, Microsoft is also launching two new AI-enhanced features for its Edge browser: chat and compose. These features will be embedded within Edge’s sidebar.

Chat will allow users to summarize the web page or document they are looking at and ask questions about its contents.

Compose acts as a writing assistant, helping generate text, from emails to social media posts, based on a few starting prompts.

Bing Chat GPT responses

Bing Chat GPT responses Photo credit: Beeping computer

The announcement of the new Bing comes amidst the recent activity of Microsoft and rival Google in the field of AI. Since ChatGPT was launched on the web in November, there has been a surge of interest in AI text generation.

Microsoft, which has closely partnered with OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, is looking to capitalize on this excitement and has already announced its plans to integrate this technology across its suite of office software.

Google has been caught off guard by the recent shift in how users find information online. The launch of ChatGPT reportedly triggered a “code red” within the company, with founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin being brought back to help deal with what could be a threat to the company’s biggest revenue driver in a recent report.

In an attempt to preempt Microsoft’s announcement, Google unveiled its own ChatGPT-like chatbot, Google Assistant, last month, which will integrate with Google’s search engine and other products. However, the initial response to Google Assistant has been lukewarm, with many users finding it less intuitive and less helpful than Microsoft’s ChatGPT.

The integration of AI technology into web searches and browsers marks a new chapter in the evolution of the web. The ability to provide instant, relevant and annotated answers to users’ queries is changing the way we find information online, and it is expected that the use of AI in search will only continue to grow.

Microsoft’s new Bing and Edge browser enhancements are aimed at providing users with an improved experience and a more intuitive way to find information online. Microsoft intends to offer a seamless and quick experience for its users by embedding the new Bing directly within the Edge browser. With the addition of the chat and compose features, Microsoft aims to make it easier for users to interact with the web and find information without leaving the browser.

Overall, the new Bing, powered by the Prometheus Model, and the AI-enhanced features for Edge, are an important step forward in the development of AI technology and its integration into our daily lives. Microsoft’s announcement is a clear signal that the company is taking AI seriously, and that the next generation of search engines will be driven by AI.

“We’re excited to bring this new AI-powered search experience to our users, and we can’t wait to see what they’ll do with it,” Nadella said.