Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella confirmed in a private briefing with the press that a ChatGPT-powered version of the Edge browser and Bing search engine is available now. The overhauled search and web browsing experience is designed for natural-language questions, replacing critical aspects of the browser with AI tools.
That might sound familiar. Google and other search engines have been leveraging AI for several years to compile search results, but Microsoft’s take is different. It’s “your AI copilot for the web,” offering up new search, answer, chat, and create functions.
Microsoft says that web search only goes so far. It estimates that about half of searches aren’t satisfied with traditional results, particularly complex questions with multiple components. With Bing’s new “Prometheus Model,” which is based on OpenAI tech, Microsoft says it can deliver relevant results with annotated answers.
To combat this, the new AI-enhanced Bing offers up to 1,000 characters for complex queries. Microsoft says you’ll still see traditional search results, but Bing will also include an AI-powered sidebar that provides contextual results.
Microsoft showed off this functionality with a few demos. If you’re shopping, the sidebar can gather information from search results and compile them into a list. Similarly, it can gather recipes from multiple sources and generate its own recipe. In all cases, the AI annotates what’s created and links to the sources from which it gathered the information.
It can also continue a conversation past the initial search. Using the chat function, you can go deeper into a particular question. Microsoft gave the example of going from finding the best TV to finding the best TV specifically for gaming.
Microsoft also said you can get much more precise with your queries. As an example, instead of entering “5-day trips to Mexico,” you can ask the AI to create an itinerary. It will generate the list, and when you’re done, you can ask the AI to generate a message to send out to whoever you’re traveling with.
The sidebar in Bing is available across the Edge browser. Microsoft says it can analyze a page and write a summary, link documents, and even compare data between multiple pages. As an example, Microsoft AI instantly translates a string of code from GitHub into another programming language.
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