Microsoft’s next wave of AI Innovation with Microsoft Bing and Edge delivers on what Clippy tried to 20 years ago

    Remember Clippy? It was a rudimentary attempt at helping you write documents in Office 2000 through 2003. Fast forward 20 years and now large language models (LLM) are now able to deliver on the original concept of helping users create content.

    Back in January, Microsoft expanded their investment in OpenAI, with a reported $10 Billion investment. With this, Microsoft gained access to OpenAI’s technology and talent and is now the exclusive cloud provider. This means when you run queries on ChatGPT, you’re actually using Microsoft Azure.

    With an investment of this scale, Microsoft clearly had big plans to leverage the technology to help its customers. Since the deal was announced, we’ve seen Microsoft move fast, perhaps faster than they ever have before.

    As we got hands-on with ChatGPT, it was clear this would impact search dramatically. For decades, we’ve used Google to search the web, get a list of search results, click through each link and eventually find our way to an answer to our question. With GPT LLMs like ChatGPT and now Bing, we ask questions and get answers with amazing speed and accuracy.

    It is clear that as the challenger in search, Microsoft sees the massive opportunity that integrating AI into their products really is to gain market share against the competition.

    Microsoft isn’t just leveraging AI in search with Bing, but moving to integrate throughout their product portfolio, chiefly with Copilot across Github, Security in Defender, as well as their bread and butter, Microsoft 365, including office apps and services like Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint and more.

    We launched the new Bing to bring you better search results, answers to your questions, the ability to create and compose, and with a new level of ease of use by being able to chat in natural language. 

    Bing combines powerful large language models like Open AI’s GPT-4 with our immense search index for results that are current, cited and conversational – something you can’t get anywhere else but on Bing. This is fundamentally changing the way people find information.

    Next generation of AI-powered search

    Today, Corporate Vice President & Consumer Chief Marketing Officer, Yusuf Mehdi at Microsoft announced they are moving to the next generation of AI-powered Bing and Edge to transform search, by greatly expanding the vision and capabilities we think of as Your Copilot for the Web.

    This next generation is defined by:

    • Opening up Bing to more people by moving from Limited Preview to Open Preview and eliminating the waitlist for trial.
    • Moving from text-only search & chat to one that is incredibly more visual with rich image/video answers and coming shortly, new multimodal support.
    • Moving from single use chat/search sessions to multi-session productivity experiences with chat history and persistent chats within Edge.
    • Opening up platform capabilities so developers and third parties can build on top of Bing to help people take actions on their queries and complete tasks.

    Bing now in Open Preview

    The new Bing is now in Open Preview and no longer has a waitlist. This means that it will now be easier than ever for everyone to try the new Bing and Edge by simply signing into Bing with your Microsoft Account.

    Making search more visual

    We know from research that the human brain processes visual information about 60,000 times faster than text, making visual tools a critical way people search, create and gain understanding. 

    Bing has always been known for its visual experiences including features like Knowledge Cards and visual search. And now we’re delivering those same experiences in chat.

    Microsoft is introducing richer, more visual answers including charts and graphs and updated formatting of answers, helping you find the information you seek more easily.

    Bing the only search experience with the ability to generate both written and visual content in one place, from within chat. And today, Microsoft is expanding Image Creator to all languages in Bing – that’s more than 100 languages – so now you can create images in your native language.

    If you want to leverage Microsoft’s AI, you’ll need to use their Edge browser, where Bing is now built-in with a dedicated button in the top-right. There are more changes on the way, and as these changes roll out, you’ll begin to see a sleeker and enhanced user interface including a streamlined look, rounded corners, organized containers and semi-transparent visual elements.

    Coming soon is the ability to use visual search in chat, so you will be able to upload images and search the web for related content.

    Making search more productive

    Two of the most requested features we’ve heard are maintaining access to your chat history and being able to share and export. Starting soon, you’ll be able to pick up where you left off and return to previous chats in Bing chat with chat history.

    And when you want to dig into something deeper and open a Bing chat result, your chat will move to your Edge sidebar, so you can keep your chat on hand while you browse. Over time, we’re exploring making your chats more personalized by bringing context from a previous chat into new conversations.

    Continuing to build in the open, responsibly

    There are plenty of questions being asked about where AI goes in the future, as the rate of learning and ultimately intelligence and capability grows rapidly. Microsoft says that responsible AI is at the center of every new experience they build with the new Bing and Edge.

    And getting the new Bing into preview so we can learn from real-world testing and feedback has been critical to our success and ability to expand the experience to more users.

    With partners OpenAI, Microsoft continues to implement safeguards to defend against harmful content based on what we’re learning and seeing in the preview.

    While the challenge is great, Microsoft is charging teams to continue to work to address issues such as misinformation and disinformation, content blocking, data safety and preventing the promotion of harmful or discriminatory content in line with our AI principles. Learn more here about our approach to responsible AI with the new Bing.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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