- Microsoft has extended its AI-based search capabilities, including visual and multimodal searches and persistent chat facilities, to improve Bing and Edge.
- Bing and Edge are now in open preview, allowing anyone with a Microsoft account to test the new tools.
- Bing Chat now includes the ability to remember and restart prior chats, allowing for more tailored and enhanced responses over time.
- Third-party developers will soon be able to add features and plugins on top of the search engine, effectively converting Bing into a platform.
Microsoft today announced a significant extension of its artificial intelligence-based search capabilities, including new features such as visual and multimodal searches, as well as persistent chat facilities. The changes dramatically improve Bing, the company’s search engine, and Edge, its web browser.
Over the last three months, only a small number of users have been able to test the new AI search features in a limited preview. However, the company announced today that Bing and Edge are now in open preview, allowing anyone to test the new tools by logging in with a Microsoft account. This action indicates that Microsoft feels the new features are ready for widespread usage and feedback.
“Today is exciting because it means the new Bing is now more quickly available to anyone who wants to try it, which also means we can engage and receive a greater volume of signals from anyone else who wants to try the experience.” “With a higher volume of data, we can iterate more quickly, bring newer experiences, and even improve upon the experiences that we’re launching,” Divya Kumar, Microsoft’s global head of marketing for search and AI, told VentureBeat in an interview.
Bing Chat has grown in strength
Bing Search, long seen as a second-rate competitor to Google, has experienced a stunning shift after incorporating GPT-4 into its basic functioning three months ago. According to Microsoft, Bing has more than 100 million daily active users, and daily installations of the Bing mobile app have more than quadrupled since its inception.
The update released today includes various visual search capabilities, including the option to search using photos. Within the search experience, users can also generate charts, graphs, and other visual answers. Microsoft also announced that it is adding more than 100 languages to its Image Creation Tool, which allows users to produce graphics using conversational prompts.
Bing Chat now remembers your history
One of the most important enhancements to Bing Chat that went live today is the ability to return and restart prior chats. Microsoft intends to make search more relevant and convenient across numerous encounters by combining chat history and persistent conversations into the Edge browser. The business stated that it intends to use users’ conversation history and context to provide more tailored and enhanced responses over time.
Persistent chats can help users locate relevant information faster, avoid repeating themselves, and follow up on subjects of interest at a later date by keeping note of a person’s inquiries and replies. Persistent chats, which replicate the flow of a regular human discussion, may also enable more natural and engaging engagements with AI assistants over lengthy periods.
Third-party plugins for Bing Chat will be available shortly
Third-party developers will also be able to add features and plug-ins on top of the search engine, according to the company’s plans. Microsoft, for example, stated that customers would soon be able to search for restaurants in Bing Chat and then book a table through OpenTable, or obtain answers to hard queries through Wolfram Alpha, without leaving the Bing experience.
Third-party plugins effectively convert Bing into a platform, allowing developers to create apps that operate within the Bing Chat web and mobile interfaces. This is a method similar to the one employed by OpenAI with ChatGPT Plugins. The plugins will ultimately be utilized in the same manner that applications on mobile phones are – each plugin will assist users in completing a specific job, such as booking a trip or seeing a movie trailer.
The Microsoft Edge browser has received a significant improvement
Microsoft is also introducing a revamped version of its Edge browser that is more tightly integrated with Bing Chat. The most visible difference for consumers will be the new Bing Chat features via the Edge sidebar, which can now reference chat history, export, and share Bing Chat discussions, summarize large documents, and conduct actions depending on user requests.
The Edge sidebar’s export and share functions allow users to effortlessly share their dialogue with others on social media or continue iterating on a freshly discovered concept. Users may simply export their chat in the same format, making it simple to switch to collaborative programs such as Microsoft Word.
Users may read dense web material more effectively using summarization skills. Bing chat can now summarize big documents, like PDFs and longer-form webpages, and emphasize the most important elements for users. Users can also request that Bing chat describe a certain portion or paragraph of a document.
Edge actions enable users to rely on AI to do more activities in fewer steps. For example, if a user wishes to view a specific movie, Edge actions will discover and present their choices in chat on the sidebar, and then play the movie from wherever it is accessible. Edge actions will be available on Edge mobile shortly.
The new Edge will be available for Windows 10, Windows 11, macOS, iOS, and Android devices in the coming weeks.
Search engine and browser of the future
Microsoft’s competence in two of its primary disciplines is highlighted in the improvements revealed today: artificial intelligence and cloud computing. “There are a few things that Bing does well. Bing is based not just on GPT–4, but also on Microsoft search and Azure AI supercomputing,” Kumar explained.
Microsoft stated that these upgrades are part of its ambition to make Edge and Bing the finest productivity and creativity tools available. The business also stated that it is looking at methods to make chats more customized by introducing context from prior talks into new ones.
“I believe the opportunity is in how much AI can play a role in not only driving productivity and efficiency but also in lowering barriers and assisting with human connection,” she added. “To be honest, I think we’ve only scratched the surface.”
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