Microsoft held a press event earlier this week and announced some major AI-powered updates to its Bing search engine and Edge browser. Microsoft is integrating OpenAI’s GPT-4 model into Bing, providing a ChatGPT-like experience within the search engine. The company is also launching a new version of its Edge browser with new AI features built into the sidebar.
Bing’s share of the search marketplace has traditionally been in the low single digits compared to Google, the undisputed leader. Now with these AI-powered tools, it looks as though Microsoft is making a major move in the search engine market competition.
Microsoft says the new enhancements will deliver a better search experience, more complete answers, new chat capabilities, and the ability to generate content.
The new Bing search engine and Edge browser are available in preview at Bing.com. A waitlist will be available for the full version which will be generally available to millions of people in the coming weeks. Microsoft also plans a new mobile version of Bing.
Microsoft states that the old, link-centric version of Bing isn’t going away. You can still use it just like before, but now it is enhanced with new AI-driven features.
Here are details on what the new enhancements will provide, according to Microsoft’s blog:
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 – the new 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 new AI capabilities and a new look, and we’ve added two new 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. With the new Bing, exploring the web isn’t just easier, it’s also more fun.