Microsoft removes waitlist for Bing and adds a host of new features

4 May 2023

Image: © mehaniq41/

As well as Microsoft making Bing available to all, ServiceNow and Hugging Face released an open-access LLM for code generation.

Bing, Microsoft’s AI-powered chatbot, is available to all users from today (4 May), the company said.

Bing has been around since its initial launch in February, but it was only made available to a limited number of users. Now, Microsoft is dispensing with the waitlist for the tool, so the millions of people who have been waiting to access it can do so.

Despite the extensive waiting list for Bing, it has not been a smooth launch for Microsoft. Since its release, the tech giant has had to rework the chatbot’s tone following numerous complaints around some of the strange answers Bing has been giving to users.

The controversy that ensued led to a public debate about the ethics of generative AI. That debate is still ongoing, with many tech experts divided over it. Google lost Geoffrey Hinton, the man known as ‘the godfather’ of AI, recently after Hinton announced his resignation and spoke of his fears over the dangers of AI being used unethically.

Despite people like Hinton raising doubts, Microsoft is very much still on board with generative AI. Following the release of Bing, the company’s chair and CEO Satya Nadella said the tech will “fundamentally change every software category”.

Bing is getting new features

Alongside the news that Bing is now being made available to all, Microsoft teased a series of new features it is adding to it.

The chatbot’s answers will incorporate more visuals with images and videos included in answers.

“We’re introducing richer, more visual answers including charts and graphs and updated formatting of answers, helping you find the information you seek more easily,” Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s head of consumer marketing, said at a press briefing following the update launch.

Bing will also have plug-in support and smarter integration with Microsoft Edge. The latter feature has been designed to make it easier for people trying to complete a task in the Edge browser ­– such as booking a restaurant – to find information about it so Bing can help users complete tasks. Mehdi said that Microsoft would share more details about these updates in the coming weeks.

ServiceNow’s open-source LLM tool

Microsoft was not the only company to make a generative AI-related announcement today. Workplace digital services company ServiceNow has teamed up with tech organisation Hugging Face to release a new open-access large language model for code generation.

The model is called StarCoder and its creators are aiming to make it easier for people and businesses to use generative AI.

“New, responsible AI practices to train and share large language models are vital to ensuring the right protocols, safeguards, and permissive licenses are in place for our customers, and StarCoder is making this possible,” according to Harm de Vries, lead of the LLM lab at ServiceNow research.

Leandro von Werra, machine learning engineer at Hugging Face said “This endeavour is a testament to the potential of open-source as we work toward democratising AI.”

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.