At a Tuesday industry gathering, Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s Consumer CMO, declared the newly upgraded Bing, fueled by AI technology, as the “future of search and browsing” that will rival Google. The improved Bing chatbot, introduced shortly after Microsoft invested $10 billion in OpenAI (the parent company of ChatGPT), will utilize the more advanced Prometheus model (neither entity is referring to it as the highly anticipated GPT-4), enhancing the accuracy of answers, providing quicker search outcomes, and considering the user’s location in query responses.
Mehdi referred to the chatbot as “significantly more powerful than ChatGPT” and “specially designed for search.” Bing’s revamped homepage features a new design with web results on the left and annotations on the right. Microsoft is also adding two AI-powered features, “chat” and “explore.”
Microsoft is also introducing two AI-powered features, “chat” and “compose,” for its Edge browser. The “chat” feature allows users to summarize a webpage or document and ask questions about its content, while “compose” assists with writing text for social media posts and other documents.
On Monday, Google debuted Bard, a new chatbot, in response to the upcoming launch of ChatGPT. Bard enables users to search through a conversational interface and is currently being tested by selected individuals.
Bard employs a smaller version of Google’s AI model LaMDA to offer a conversational way to access global information. Google CEO Sundar Pichai did not mention integrating Bard into the company’s primary source of revenue, the search engine. Instead, he emphasized the potential for AI to synthesize information from various sources into easily understandable formats. For instance, an AI-generated answer might appear at the top of the interface in response to a query, pushing down traditional results.
This year, Google, Baidu, and Microsoft will generate a total of $161.22 billion in global search ad revenue, with Google holding over 91% of the triopoly’s share. The company aims to maintain its dominance over competitors.
The rapid announcement of Bard and the lack of information about it are clear signs of the “emergency” that ChatGPT’s launch caused among Google employees who believed the company was caught off guard.
Google is concerned about the potential backlash against untested AI, given its history of spreading harmful content and providing false information. OpenAI’s CTO has called for government regulation of the technology. Google is taking a cautious approach to developing consumer AI, betting that consumers will find it hard to switch from a search engine they have used for years.
However, this assumes that Microsoft’s experience with AI will be better. Bing has not been popular since its launch in 2009, but if Microsoft benefits from OpenAI’s positive reputation, it could gain ground against Google. In that case, Google may speed up its conversational search plans if they are wise, which they are.