Microsoft’s announcement comes days after Google revealed its own AI chatbot, along with plans to incorporate AI into its search engine,
Microsoft has revealed a new Bing search engine and Edge browser with AI capabilities in the hope of challenging Google’s market dominance.
In a sudden event yesterday (7 February), Microsoft announced the new preview versions of these products. The company said this new Bing will run on a large language model that is more powerful than ChatGPT and “customised specifically for search”.
ChatGPT is an advanced chatbot created by OpenAI that is designed to give conversational-style answers to questions. Microsoft said this software will make basic search query responses more accurate and relevant.
For more complex search questions, Microsoft said Bing will offer an interactive chat experience, to help users refine their question so they can get the best results.
“AI will fundamentally change every software category, starting with the largest category of all – search,” said Microsoft chair and CEO Satya Nadella. “We’re launching Bing and Edge powered by AI co-pilot and chat, to help people get more from search and the web.”
The Edge browser, meanwhile, is also getting an AI boost with new chat and compose features. Based on a few basic prompts, the compose feature will create content for a user, such as writing a social media post.
Microsoft said a new Edge sidebar will let users get summaries of lengthy reports, while the chat function can then be used to ask for comparisons to similar reports.
The new version of Bing is available in limited preview for desktop users. Microsoft said it plans to scale the preview to millions of users in the coming weeks.
The AI race has begun
Microsoft has been planning to give Bing a boost with ChatGPT since at least the start of 2023, according to a report by The Information.
The company hopes AI will give it an edge in the search-engine market, where Google has a massive dominance with nearly 84pc of the market share last July.
Bing is the second-most popular search engine in the world, with nearly 9pc of the market share last July according to Statista.
Microsoft’s announcement comes shortly after Google revealed that it is developing Bard, an AI chatbot to rival ChatGPT. Google also plans to incorporate AI into its search engine, similar to Microsoft.
The rapid rise of ChatGPT has led to these tech giants scrambling for the upper hand. Rodrigo Liang, co-founder and CEO of AI company SambaNova Systems, said the world is witnessing the “fastest industrial revolution in history” that will be as impactful as the launch of the internet.
“It’s no surprise that the two largest software companies in the world are racing to develop and release their own generative AI solutions,” Liang said. “While Google and Microsoft have their eyes on the consumer market, and especially search, we mustn’t forget the enterprise software market which is ripe for transformation.
“The most successful enterprises are those which are already working on generative AI solutions.”
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