At an event at its Redmond, Washington headquarters, Microsoft planted its flag in the sand as a major player in the race to build out products with artificial intelligence. The company is launching a new version of its Bing search engine with a customized version of the AI that powers ChatGPT, OpenAI's chatbot that has spread fear and wonder through the tech industry.
In addition, AI features will be added to Microsoft's Edge browser. In a blog post (opens in new tab), Microsoft's consumer chief marketing officer and corporate vice president Yusuf Mehdi wrote that Microsoft considers "these tools as an AI copilot for the web."
The "new Bing" is available in a limited preview on desktop now, with sample queries and a waitlist available.
Microsoft, long a minor player in search when compared to Google, is pushing AI as a way to completely change the search engine experience.
Microsoft listed a slew of ways that AI can assist with search from anywhere on the web, including better, more relevant search results (including a sidebar for more detailed results) and summarizing answers from multiple results — which could mean you never need to actually click on one: "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," Mehdi writes.
There will also be chat, which OpenAI's ChatGPT has popularized, which Microsoft says will get more complete answers because you can continuously refine what you're looking for.
At the event, Microsoft showed AI writing a LinkedIn post in a new feature for Edge, an AI-based sidebar. "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," Mehdi writes. "The new Bing also cites all its sources, so you’re able to see links to the web content it references."
In Edge, you'll also be able to ask for a summary of of what you're looking at. At the event, the company showed the AI outlining a company's financial report, and then comparing it to a competitor and putting all of the numbers in a table.
Microsoft is using a custom version of OpenAI's 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 didn't say anything about GPT 4, which had been rumored.
In addition, Microsoft has its own "Prometheus" model, designed to work with OpenAI's tech to improve safety and provide the most relevant results. By adding AI to Bing's search ranking algorithm, it says it's getting "The largest jump in relevance in two decades."
Microsoft has been building out its Azure data centers as a primary business objective for years, so the company is ready for more AI training and for scaling. The company can seemingly afford big risks with search, as, unlike Google, it's not a core business. Microsoft missed phones and fell behind in browsers, and it appears hungry for a fight here.
Google has its own competing event tomorrow, so we'll see how its new Bard chatbot and AI powered by its LaMDA model will affect its search efforts.
I still think it's way too early to be rolling these AI features out. However, I'm sure some clickbait news blogs will love this. They can book work trips via the AI and then write about itinerary mistakes. Maybe have the AI write some department-wide emails that are mildly embarrassing but good enough for several articles. I think AI is going to be great in 4-8 years -- and a technology that forces us to re-evaluate the relationship between work, income, and living. However, we're not there yet.
ChatGPT is simply able to answer in contextual human-like speech because it is piecing together sentences it sourced online.
This is also not new. Google has been adding answers to contextual questions for years. "How tall is the Eiffel Tower ?" is something Google has been able to answer for over a decade now.
The difference is that Google shows where they found this information. And the contextual data used so far has been limited to such an extent that it is still manageable for Google.
ChatGPT is just taking contextual answers to an extreme, and slicing and combining information from all over.
ChatGPT does not disclose where it found this information, how it found this information, and the date of this information.
A lot of data from ChatGPT is flat out wrong, outdated, or both. And while asking ChatGPT to write a poem is no big deal, people will be asking medical information, financial information, etc... and that's going to go horribly wrong.
bing = bung
ANTI Intelligence more like it at this point. Here they are laying off all these high tech people and their investing money in this stuff. What a joke.
Haha if Microsoft renamed their Bing search browser to Bung or Bunghole it would get WAY more popular. Everyone would know about it just from the name. They would say during conversations instead of 'ask Google' they would say 'Ask your Bunghole app!'
I know you were joking but have tried to use Google to search for a lesser-known topic or odd brand name that's similar to an English word lately. You end up with a search that looks like ++++++""""what I'm actually looking for"""" -------"no not that" -------"or that" ------"why the hell did you think I meant that???!!!"
Try designing a search engine for all languages and spelling abilities, and you'll quickly run into the same problem - that a lot of people can't spell - and that makes it even harder to tell exactly what they want. Especially absent context.
Having said that, I don't do things like that to "help" google, because my search results are usually good enough. I'm just saying that, if this is a real problem for you, you might find you're not seeing the best performance their tools can offer.