How Microsoft's new AI-powered Bing search engine will take on Google

The tech company described the next-generation language model as more powerful than ChatGPT

Microsoft is fusing ChatGPT-like technology into its search engine Bing. AP
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Microsoft has unveiled its new artificial intelligence-powered search engine as it looks to take on Google in its core business.

The Bing search engine and Edge web browser will deliver more complete answers to queries, a new chat-style search experience and the ability to generate content, Microsoft said on Wednesday.

Bing runs on a next-generation large language model built by OpenAI that Microsoft described as more powerful than ChatGPT.

Microsoft last month announced the third phase of its long-term partnership with the maker of the viral AI service through a new multiyear, multibillion-dollar investment.

“AI will fundamentally change every software category, starting with the largest category of all — search,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and chief executive of Microsoft.

The announcement comes shortly after Google launched a new artificial intelligence service called “Bard” on Monday.

Bard is powered by Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA) technology that was unveiled by the company nearly two years ago.

AI-led LaMDA comes with next-generation language and conversational ability, the company said.

Microsoft's new upgrade of Bing, which is live in limited preview on desktop computers and will be available for mobile devices in coming weeks, takes key learnings and advancements from ChatGPT and GPT-3.5 — and is “even faster, more accurate and more capable”, according to the company.

“Bing reviews results from across the web to find and summarise the answer you’re looking for,” Microsoft said in a blog post.

“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.

“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.”

And as is the case with ChatGPT, Bing can now generate content such as emails or a quiz, while the Edge browser can also compose content, such as a LinkedIn post (Microsoft owns LinkedIn).

The Redmond, Washington company gave an example as being able to 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.

Microsoft's stock closed 4.2 per cent higher on Tuesday, while Google owner Alphabet gained 4.6 per cent.

Microsoft expects every percentage point of market share it gains to bring in another $2 billion in search advertising revenue.

ChatGPT has been creating a stir across the internet since it was launched in November, with its writing ability and responses to requests.

However, it has also been surrounded by controversy because of its potential to present inaccurate information as fact, apart from concerns that students could use it to submit work that is not theirs.

However, OpenAI has introduced a new tool that can detect whether a piece of writing has been created by artificial intelligence or a human being, although the company said it is not totally successful in identifying AI-generated text.

Updated: February 08, 2023, 7:55 AM