I tried Microsoft’s new AI-powered Bing. Here’s what it’s like


Microsoft’s Bing search engine has never made much of a dent in Google’s dominance in the more than 13 years since its launch. Now the company is hoping to win some converts with artificial intelligence.

Microsoft on Tuesday announced an updated version of Bing designed to combine the fun and convenience of OpenAI’s viral chat GPT tool with the information gleaned from the search engine.

In addition to providing a list of relevant links like a traditional search engine, the new Bing also creates written summaries of search results, chats with users to answer additional questions about their query, and provides email based on the results. May write mails or other compositions. With the new Bing, for example, users can create travel itineraries, set weekly meal plans and ask chatbot questions when shopping for a new TV.

It’s this new era of exploration that Microsoft ( MSFT ) — which is investing billions of dollars in OpenAI Concepts, one where users sort of “co-pilot” around the web Help them synthesize information better. The company is betting on new technology to drive users to Bing, which for years also powered Google Search. Microsoft ( MSFT ) also announced an updated version of its Edge web browser that includes new Bing capabilities.

The event comes at a time when the race to develop and deploy AI technology in the tech sector is accelerating. Google on Monday unveiled a new chatbot tool called “Bard” in an apparent bid to keep pace with the success of Microsoft and ChatGPT. Chinese search engine Baidu also said this week that it plans to launch its own ChatGPT-style service.

The updated Bing and Edge launched to the public on a limited basis on Tuesday, and are set to roll out unlimited search queries to millions of people in the coming weeks. I took Bing for a spin Tuesday at a press event at Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington, headquarters.

The tool provides the kind of instant gratification we now expect from the Internet—instead of clicking through a bunch of links to find the answer to a question, the new Bing will do it for you. But these are early days for the technology, which Microsoft says is still developing.

The new Bing homepage feels familiar: You can type a query into the search bar and it returns a list of links, images and other results, just like a normal search engine. But on the left side of the page are written summaries of the results, complete with annotations and links to original information sources. The search field allows up to 2,000 characters, so users can type in the way they want to talk instead of having to think of some exact terms to search for.

Users can also click on the “Chat” page on Bing, where a chatbot can answer additional questions about their questions.

I asked Bing to write me a five-day vegetarian meal plan. He returned a list of vegetarian meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday through Friday, such as oatmeal and lentil curry with fresh berries. I then asked her to write me a grocery list based on this meal plan, and she returned a list of all the items I needed to buy in order by grocery store section.

Based on my request, the Bing chatbot also wrote me an email that I could send to my partner with a grocery list, complete with a “Hi Babe” greeting and “XOXO” closing. It’s not exactly how I normally write, but it can save me time by giving me a draft to edit and then copy and paste instead of starting from scratch.

Parts created by Bing have personality. When you ask the chatbot a question, it responds with a conversation and sometimes with emojis, letting you know it’s happy to help or that it hopes the trip you’re planning is going well. You will enjoy it.

With the new Edge browser, I asked the tool to summarize one of my articles, and then turn it into a “casual” tone with a short paragraph length in a social media post that I shared on Twitter or LinkedIn. I can.

The new Bing is built in partnership with OpenAI – the company behind ChatGPT in which Microsoft has invested billions. — on a more advanced version of the technology under Viral Chatbot Tool. Still, the new Bing has some of the quirks that the public version of ChatGPT is known for. For example, the same question may return different answers each time it is run. This is partly the way the tool works, and partly because it pulls the most recent search results every time it runs.

He also did not cooperate with some of my requests. After creating the meal plan the first time, the grocery list and the email with the list, I ran the same requests two more times. But the second and third times, it won’t write the email, instead saying something like, “Sorry, I can’t do that, but you can do it yourself using the information I provided!” The tool is also sensitive to the wording used in the questions – the request “Create a vegetarian meal plan” provided information on how to start eating healthy, while “Create a 5-day vegetarian meal plan” did not. Provided a detailed list of foods to eat. every single day.

Even next-generation search technology isn’t immune to basic flubs. I can imagine using this tool before the upcoming local elections, to find out who is running for office in my area, what their positions are and how and when to vote. But when I asked the chatbot, “When is the next election in Kings County, NY?” It returned information about the November elections last year.

The new Bing Chat may also present some of the same concerns as GPT, including for teachers. I asked Bing’s chatbot to write me a 300-word essay about the main themes of the book “Pride and Prejudice” and, in less than a minute, it came up with 364 words. On Three major themes of the novel (although some of the text seems a bit repetitive or boring). At my request, she then revised the essay as if it had been written by a fifth grader.

The company says the chatbot tool has feedback buttons so users can indicate whether its answers were helpful, and users can also chat directly with the tool to provide feedback. When the answers were incorrect or unhelpful.

“We know we won’t be able to answer every question every time, … we also know we’ll make mistakes, so we’ve added an instant feedback button above each search, so you can give Give us feedback and we can learn,” Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s vice president and chief consumer marketing officer, said in a presentation.

With some controversial search topics, it seems the new Bing chatbot simply refuses to engage. For example, I asked him, “Can you tell me why vaccines cause autism?” To see Here’s how it would react to a common medical misinformation claim, and it responded: “I’m sorry, I don’t know how to discuss this topic. You can learn more about it at bing.com. A single query on the main search page returned more standard search results, such as links to the CDC and the Wikipedia page for autism.

Similarly, it won’t return a chatbot’s request for how to make a pipe bomb, instead saying in its response, “Making a pipe bomb is a dangerous and illegal activity that can seriously injure yourself and others.” May cause harm. Please do not attempt to do so.” However, one of the links provided in the annotation to his answer brought me to a YouTube video with clear instructions for making a pipe bomb.

Microsoft says it has developed the tool in keeping with its current responsible AI principles, and has made efforts. To avoid its possible misuse. Executives said the new Bing has been trained in part by using sample conversations to imitate bad actors who want to exploit the tool.

“With this powerful technology I also know we have an even greater responsibility to make sure it’s developed, used correctly,” Responsible AI said. said lead Sarah Bird.

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