AI-based Bing open for public testing

Microsoft has opened its ChatGPT AI-based conversational Bing search engine for public testing. The chatbot, which has been in limited trial use until now, is now available to anyone.

AI-based chat-based search is one of the biggest changes to search engines in years. It involves users asking the search engine questions in natural language and the search engine responding in a human-like manner.

In the future, Bing will also start to provide images, videos and graphics as part of its answers.

Bing Image Creator

Bing Image Creator, the company’s recently launched AI-based image creator that creates images on command, will also be integrated into the search engine. It will be supported in all languages supported by Bing, including Finnish. This means that the search engine will be able to provide instructions in Finnish for creating images.

According to the company, more than 200 million images have been created with the tool in the trial phase.

Microsoft is also bringing a conversation history feature to Bing, which will allow previous conversations with the bot to be resumed at a later date. It is now possible to share or export conversations with AI to other applications using tools built for the purpose.

Many changes to come

Microsoft stresses that this is still a “preview” of the service. Bing underwent many changes during the trial period, with the maximum number of responses a bot could give in a single conversation changing almost daily. To use the new features of Bing, you need to log in with a Microsoft account.

In IS Digitoday’s experience, chat-based search engines should not be trusted blindly. While traditional search engines provide a list of links and present possible parallel views on issues, it is easier to believe that answers given in natural language are correct.

Strengthening Edge

Microsoft is also strengthening the Edge browser’s connection to Bing. Using Microsoft’s own browser, the right sidebar carries chat conversations alongside web browsing. This happens, for example, when clicking on links in search engine responses, so that the original conversation remains visible.

Microsoft also announced a feature called Actions, which allows other applications to use Bing’s artificial intelligence. This is an interface that allows app developers to connect their apps to Bing and the Edge browser.

The company says its intention is to build Bing as a platform for other apps to connect to which will make it an even more powerful digital collaboration tool.

Microsoft is currently engaged in a fierce competition with Google in the search engine debate. The innovations now seen will give Microsoft a lead, as Google’s own chat-based Bard search engine is still in closed testing. According to Microsoft, 100 million people now use Bing every day.

There have also been recent criticisms from around the world about the rapid development of artificial intelligence. Many believe that it could even be a danger to humanity in the worst case.

Experiences using Bing

AI-driven question and answer based information retrieval on the web is changing the way people search online in a big way. In the future, it will be possible to ask search engines a question in the same way you ask a friend.

Sometimes a conversation with Bing becomes a bickering match. You can disagree with it, but it will ask you for a reason. And when it hears the arguments, it ignores them. It reminds me of modern political debate.

There have been reports around the world of Bing being aggressive, even abusive, towards its users. This is reported by the Independent, Fast Company, Ars Technica, Techspot and countless others. This is a credible claim in itself. Rare are the learned large-scale systems that cannot be skewed in some way.

Learning AI is not a constant, it changes and evolves. There are examples in history of how it has learned bad habits. The people responsible for developing AI are much more like guardians.

The overall experience is mixed, but still promising. Microsoft itself stresses that Bing’s chat is evolving daily, so it’s probably a few notches better by the time you read this.

However, the chat responses significantly reduce the number of responses users get from the search engine. If search engines used to be a tyranny of the first page (few people could continue to the second page), now the proportion of competing responses is even smaller.

References are reasonably well cited. Next, people should start quoting them. If text responses are taken as given truth, we are on thin ice.