Microsoft removes Bing’s waitlist and adds chat history

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks during an event at the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington on February 7, 2023.

Chona Kasinger | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Microsoft said Thursday it was removing the waiting list it had set up over the past three months for its revamped Bing search engine, allowing anyone with a Microsoft account to use it. The new Bing, revealed in February, features a chatbot enhanced with OpenAI’s GPT-4 artificial intelligence model that is similar to the startup’s viral ChatGPT bot.

Google remains the leader in search advertising. Microsoft wants to become a tougher challenger after introducing Bing in 2009, with the help of OpenAI. Microsoft said that for every percentage point of market share it gains in the highly profitable search category, its revenue will increase by $2 billion.

With its appearance at the end of November, ChatGPT sparked a wave of interest in generative AI technologies that create text, images and other content in response to human intervention. Microsoft provides cloud services for ChatGPT and offers GPT-4 to companies looking to leverage generative AI.

In addition to augmenting Bing with GPT-4, Microsoft announced plans to integrate the AI ​​model into its Microsoft 365 productivity software and offer a chatbot for security practitioners, among other products. Google, for its part, is working to add generative AI to its search engine, and it has a language model rivaling GPT-4 that developers have started using.

“We’ve had a really good positive signal since launch,” Divya Kumar, global head of search and AI marketing at Microsoft, told CNBC in an interview. Last week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Bing had surpassed 100 million daily active users.

But while Bing has taken a share of consumer web searches, it hasn’t gained a share of search revenue in the nearly three months since Microsoft showed off the new version at a press event on its campus in Redmond, Washington, wrote Bernstein analysts led by Mark Shmulik. a Wednesday note to customers.

“At its peak, Bing reached #4 in the US iOS app downloads chart in early February,” Bernstein analysts wrote, citing Apptopia data. “After the launch of the new Bing, Bing’s total application download volume increased 4 times. However, Bing’s download momentum declined in March and April.” Bernstein has the equivalent of buy ratings on shares of parent company Google Alphabet and Microsoft.

Now Microsoft is bolstering Bing with more features on top of expanding access.

Microsoft is adding a way to return to previous chat conversations, which ChatGPT has offered for months. It will provide a way to export discussions to Microsoft Word documents. It will also start displaying images and other media in chat messages where appropriate.

And over time, Bing will add integrations with third-party services like OpenTable and Wolfram Alpha, allowing users to view and act on current information when talking with the chatbot. Open AI announcement a similar concept called plugins for ChatGPT in March, but those who want to try them out must first sign up to a waiting list.

Kumar said the company will provide more details on how developers can build for the Bing chatbot at its Microsoft Build developer conference, which begins May 23.

People still need to go through the Microsoft Edge web browser on PCs or the Bing app on mobile devices in order to use the new Bing, including its chatbot. This means that Google has not yet allowed users to use the Bing chatbot from Google’s dominant Chrome browser. “We are still at the beginning of the journey and still learning,” Kumar said.

Edge has increased its share of the web browsing market every quarter for the past two years, consumer marketing manager Yusuf Mehdi wrote in a blog post. Microsoft includes Edge in its Windows 10 and Windows 11 operating systems, and the default search engine in Edge is Bing.

Microsoft is updating Edge so that when people open a result that appears during a Bing chat, the chat moves to a sidebar in Edge to continue the conversation, Mehdi wrote.

SHOW: Artificial intelligence could ruin Alphabet’s only real business: Google Search, says CIC Wealth’s Malcolm Ethridge



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