Bing Chat is Microsoft’s answer to ChatGPT — in fact, it’s based on the same technology that makes OpenAI’s chatbot run.
But Microsoft has a very different approach, integrating generative AI directly into its Edge web browser and Bing search engine. It’s even coming to the entire suite of Office apps in the future. Here’s how to sign up and use Bing Chat today.
Bing Chat is available to the public for free, but requires downloading the new version of Microsoft Edge. Just go to bing.com/new and click on “Download Microsoft Edge,” which will then ask you to choose the platform you’re on. This will then install the new browser, just like with any other application.
Once you have the new version of Microsoft Edge, there are two simple ways to access Bing Chat. In the Edge browser, just head over to bing.com and click on the “chat” tab. You can also access Bing Chat just by hovering over the “Discover” icon in the top-right of the sidebar, known as “Edge Copilot.” This mode aligns with the other Copilot features coming to the rest of the Microsoft 365 applications, such as Word, PowerPoint, and more.
The company also recently integrated Bing Chat into the search bar in Windows 11, which opens a chat window in Microsoft Edge directly from your desktop.
You can also use Bing Chat on your smartphone via Edge and the Bing app. This is also subject to the rollout process so it isn’t necessarily faster. Instead, consider this another way to access Bing Chat. When you use it from a mobile device, you can use your voice to ask Bing Chat questions and receive spoken responses. While you need to tap the microphone button before you speak, it’s almost like having Bing Chat in a smart speaker.
YouTube channel RustyBrick Barry Schwartz Search Engine Roundtable posted a video demonstrating how it works.
Bing Chat works just like ChatGPT. You can ask it anything, and using an LLM (large language model), it will understand and respond in natural human language.
But Microsoft has also been slowly rolling out Bing Chat features, and most of them are available to use now. In particular, the Edge Copilot feature provides more suggestions and refinements to the Bing Chat experience.
The chat tab focuses on more conversational language, which provides lots of suggestions on the types of questions you can ask. These include links to learn more, suggested follow-up questions, and functions much more like a traditional search engine.
In addition to chat, the sidebar also includes Compose and Insights. The Compose tab allows you to generate text in various tones and formats. You can choose between five different tones, formats, and lengths, which augments the types of output Bing Chat will provide. For example, you can generate a professional email and paste it into your email client, or you can generate a short blog post in a humorous tone. If you don’t like the response, you can quickly generate a new one as well.
The Insights tab pulls context for the website you’re currently on. If you’re shopping, for example, it can pull reviews of the product you’re looking at, as well as comparisons and news stories. In addition, if you’re already on a review, the Insight feature can pull in alternatives.
Microsoft has announced Bing Image Creator, which is a new text-to-image feature that can be found on both Bing and in Edge. The version found at bing.com/create functions as a stand-alone service, but Microsoft is slowly rolling out access that’s built right into Bing Chat itself.
Once your account has been granted access, you’ll be able to create AI-generated images from text right within the chat window found in the Edge Copilot. Just click on the Bing logo and make sure you’re in “creative” mode, and you’re good to go. Once you have access, you’ll also be able to generate images in full screen right in the normal Bing Chat window too.
Image Creator in Bing Chat allows you to ask Bing to not only create images but also tweak them as you refine your prompts. As Bing Chat already does, the conversation flows naturally, taking previous prompts and chat history into consideration.
So far, there has been no mention of charging for Bing’s new AI features. Microsoft clarified that ads are part of the experience from the start and that it doesn’t have plans to charge a fee as of yet.
But from what we can tell, there are still limits on conversations. As of now, the daily limit has been increased to 150 chats per day and 15 chats per session. Once you hit 15 chats in a session, Bing Chat will ask you to move on to a new topic. ChatGPT does not have this limit.
Meanwhile, OpenAI recently launched its subscription-based ChatGPT Plus to help offset the high costs of keeping up with the avalanche of new users. If Microsoft’s claim of being even better than ChatGPT proves to be true, it will be remarkable.
Microsoft responded to this by vastly reducing the conversation limit within Bing Chat. Initially, you could only ask five questions per session and a total of 50 questions per day, but Microsoft has been raising the turn limit since and now offers up to 15 questions per session (150 per day).
In addition, Bing Chat now has a switch that allows you to toggle between precise, fact-driven responses and more creative responses.
Microsoft describes the new Bing chat as “a new, next-generation OpenAI large language model” that’s more advanced than ChatGPT. Since the goal is to integrate this with Bing search, there are different considerations.
For example, Bing’s ChatGPT alternative is expected to be much faster than ChatGPT while stepping beyond the capabilities of GPT-3.5 in some ways. Known as the Prometheus model, Microsoft brings current news to its chat for up-to-date results that are still safe for Bing’s large user base. There has been speculation that Bing Chat uses GPT-4, and Microsoft confirmed that’s the case after OpenAI announced the launch of ChatGPT-4.
Microsoft had been testing the AI for over a year before it was released, and some Microsoft community posts point to the fact that Bing Chat showed this behavior well before it was released.
There are dozens of AI writing tools on the market now, but the best seem to rely on OpenAI’s ChatGPT or GPT-3. Google didn’t fall asleep at the wheel and is rolling out its Bard AI to Google Search soon. That means the battle for the most accurate, relevant, and current AI-powered search engine is yet to be determined.
We recently reported on Jasper AI, an OpenAI partner that provides a ChatGPT-like solution, with no waitlist, that’s customized for business use.
Regardless of which company comes out on top, it’s clear that AI-powered search is the future. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see Google’s competitor in action soon.
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