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Refining Search and Chat: Microsoft’s New AI-powered Bing and Edge are the New Copilots for the Web

This week has been quite impressive in terms of ringing in big, exciting, AI-powered news. After Sunder Pichai announced the launch of Bard, its experimental conversational AI service (considered an alternative to ChatGPT), Microsoft launched an all-new AI-powered Microsoft Bing and Edge, offering a faster, and enhanced search experience.

With this move, Microsoft aims to ‘deliver better search, more complete answers, a new chat experience and the ability to generate content’.

Speaking about the launch, Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO, of Microsoft said that in the future, AI will completely change every software category, beginning with the biggest category of all, i.e. search. Powered by AI copilot and chat, Bing and Edge will enable users to get more from search and the web.

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Did you know that on a daily average, there are around 10 billion queries a day, but roughly half of them go unanswered? The reason being users’ definition of search has graduated from basic facts to more complex queries. In a nutshell, people are using search for far more intricate things which it wasn’t designed to do in the first place.

If you can’t wait to try it out, you can preview the new AI-powered Bing search engine and Edge browser at Bing.com. Post-announcement,

Diego Marano, Chief Product Officer at Qudo said –

“This is a unique opportunity for Microsoft, which has been trying to grow its share of search for years. Bing has consistently recorded more than 1 billion visits per month since 2020 – a huge amount. However, when its direct competition is a search engine that has become synonymous with Internet search and a verb in its own right, and records 7 billion searches a day, it will take an impressive technological advance to disrupt its authority. Nevertheless, although they say “the early bird gets the worm”, this could also be a case of “the second mouse gets the cheese”. Microsoft’s belief that AI tech is its best bet at rivaling Google is hopeful. The integration of AI is the biggest move towards trying to diminish Google’s search engine dominance. But, this week Google announced its own AI chatbot, Bard. Whilst talking to several digital marketers in my network it’s clear that most people are still trying to figure out what to do with ChatGPT. Some have already hit ChatGPT’s “reliability wall”, so they are looking for fact-checked alternatives. But I believe the majority will wait for Bard due to trustworthiness and reliability.

The race for the first commercially available “smart search engine” is on. If Microsoft manages to revolutionize search with ChatGPT, it’s dark times ahead for Google…”

The New Bing and Edge – What to Expect

Microsoft has fused together the three pillars – search, browsing, and chat – into one unified experience and users can invoke it from anywhere on the web.

Improved search

The new version of Bing offers an enhanced search experience with more relevant results for even the simplest of topics like e- stock prices, weather, sports score etc. Users can also explore the new sidebar which showcases more comprehensive answers.

Detailed answers

When you search for something, Bing first reviews all the results from across the web and then provides you with a summarized answer. For example, you can get elaborate details to substitute an egg while you are baking a cake, without having to go through the trouble of scrolling for multiple results.

The new chat

While looking for a more detailed search like exploring different options to buy a TV, or etching out an itinerary for a trip, the new Bing offers an interactive chat. The chat option will help the users to refine their search by asking for ideas, more details, and clarity and provide links immediately to take a decision.

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Content at your service

There will be times when your creative juices will refuse to flow, leaving you in flux. Here the new Bing can be your best friend.

From drafting an email, preparing for a job interview, or creating a trivia quiz, the news can help you generate content on literally any topic. The new version also cites its sources so the user can view the website references.

With the new Bing, users can ask some fun things like trip suggestions for an anniversary in Europe, or if the Ikea Klippan loveseat is an apt fit in the 2019 Honda Odyssey, etc.

Refining search with AI

The new Bing experience comprises four technical breakthroughs:

Next-generation OpenAI model

The new Bing is running on the new, next-generation OpenAI large language model which is customized specifically for search. Considered more powerful than ChatGPT, this model imbibes its key learnings from ChatGPT and GPT-3.5, which means, it is faster, more efficient, and more accurate.

Microsoft Prometheus model

Microsoft has put together a proprietary way of working with the OpenAI model which enables it to best leverage its power. The amalgamation of capabilities and solid techniques equips the Prometheus model to offer relevant, timely, and targeted results while keeping safety in mind.

AI Model to the Core Search Algorithm

In order to improve the relevance of search results, Microsoft has also applied the AI model to the core Bing search ranking engine. Thanks to the AI model, Bing has experienced the largest jump in relevance in two decades. This AI model also ensures that even basic search queries yield more relevant results.

New user experience

Emphasizing more on how users interact with search, browser, and chat, Microsoft has combined them into a unified experience.

This move is undoubtedly a direct challenge to Google, which currently dominates the search market. and, if this ambitious reinvention of the largest software category, i.e. search turns out well for Microsoft, this could result in a massive shift towards Bing from Google.

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com].

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