Is Bing booming in the era of AI?
Who uses Bing, anyway? Google handles a staggering 8.5 billion searches per day, plus “to Google” is a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary, and Google has been a household name for as long as many can remember. Microsoft’s Bing, on the other hand, has long struggled to leave a similar legacy in the digital revolution. But are things about to change? The Undercover Geek has the AI secrets and stats you need to know about.
Bing was launched in 2009 by the one and only Microsoft Corporation, but the software giant had plenty of experience providing Internet users with search engines before Bing was even born. MSN Search made its debut in 1999, and Microsoft continued to rebrand with Windows Live Search, Live Search, and eventually — you guessed it — Bing.
Now, with Microsoft’s $10 billion investment into Open AI’sGPT technology, is Bing booming in the era of AI? I’m on a mission to find out.
Bing brings in big numbers
While Google is winning the market share race — 85% as of March 2023 — Bing has a new trick up its sleeve: Bing AI.
Up until recently, people eager to try out the new Bing had to sign up on a waitlist. Fortunately, Microsoft has now scrapped the wait and launched its AI chatbot to the world.
The new AI-powered Bing search engine within the Edge browser is designed to provide a better search experience, more complete answers, an enhanced chat experience — and with its ChatGPT integration — the ability to generate content.
The numbers nerd in me wanted to know whether Microsoft’s plan was working, so I did some research. It turns out page visits on Bing have increased 15.8% since Microsoft launched its new AI-powered search engine. And app downloads have shared equally well, propelling eight times globally following the AI integration.
Microsoft’s tempting us to switch
Microsoft’s latest move to launch an AI-powered search engine is part of an ongoing push to get people to make the switch to Bing. Here’s a reminder of just some of the reasons why Bing remains competitive in the search engine race:
- Microsoft Rewards — Launched in 2010, Microsoft Rewards lets users earn points for simply using Bing to perform searches. These points can then be redeemed for free gift cards, games, movies, and more.
- Bing Videos — Officially released in 2007, Bing Videos is a dedicated tab that allows users to see new and trending videos from YouTube, Facebook, and other media.
- Beautiful homepage backgrounds — Let’s face it, Google’s default homepage is a bit boring. Bing, on the other hand, gives you beautiful backgrounds to admire every day without any human intervention.
- Bing Chat — Microsoft has officially joined the AI chatbot revolution with its newest version of Bing, and it’s already taken the second most popular search engine in the world to new heights.
Bing’s bigger than you think
If you asked someone to “go Bing it,” they’d probably look at you blankly. However, not everyone knows that many search engines are powered by Bing. For example, Yahoo!, the third most popular search engine with a market share of 1.13%, uses Microsoft’s Bing to power its results. So, what other search engines is Bing hiding behind?
Here’s just a small selection of search engines Microsoft has partnered with:
Before Google became synonymous with searching the internet, Yahoo was still the second most popular site online. However, Yahoo and other search engines failed to keep up with Google’s search algorithm, which was constantly being updated and tweaked. So, in order to stay in somewhat competition with Google, many smaller search engines teamed up with Microsoft’s Bing. What’s more, advertisers can make use of Microsoft Advertising across the search engines’ partner sites.
AI Bing is the new bling
The new Bing elegantly combines Microsoft’s search engine with a customized version of the ChatGPT bot from OpenAI. As well as seeing the traditional list of links you’d get from performing a search, AI-powered Bing also provides a sidebar with a human-like response. Hitting “Let’s chat” or “Chat” lets you transition to a chatbot that provides a markedly different search experience, similar to WhatsApp, Teams, or Slack.
You can also set a conversation style by changing the tone to Creative, Balanced, or Precise.
Bing Compose lets you generate content for emails, blog posts, standard paragraphs, or videos. In this mode, you can also pick the tone, including Professional, Casual, and Funny. Finally, you can specify the length of the desired content: Short, Medium, or Long.
Bing Chat seamlessly integrates into the Edge browser, and if you don’t have time to read through a webpage, the Bing Edge sidebar can be used to summarize the page content instantly. Alternatively, you can paste the URL into the standard Bing Chat interface, but the Edge Sidebar is far more convenient. The sidebar is also helpful for quickly changing the website’s language and answering questions directly related to the webpage you’re on.
Bing AI chat vs ChatGPT
You may be thinking, if ChatGPT is integrated into Bing, isn’t it just ChatGPT? Yes and no.
Although both AI solutions use similar language models and the ability to respond to questions in a human-like way, there are some notable differences between them.
First, Bing AI and ChatGPT are launched in different ways. After you’ve signed up to ChatGPT for free, you can access it directly through the main OpenAI website, whereas Bing Chat requires you to download the latest version of Microsoft Edge. This could be a barrier for people looking to jump straight into AI-powered Bing without the annoyance of upgrading first. However, Bing Chat isn’t just accessible from a browser — it’s also made an appearance in Skype and Teams.
Fortunately, ChatGPT and Bing Chat have generous free tiers. However, if you want access to GPT-4 — the newest version of OpenAI’s language model — you’ll need to upgrade to ChatGPT Plus, the premium version of ChatGPT. Bing Chat, on the other hand, is completely free and is already powered by GPT-4.
A concern some people have about AI chatbots is how up-to-date the information is. ChatGPT has access to sources up to and including 2021. However, Bing Chat has the advantage of pulling more recent information.
So, should you use ChatGPT or Bing Chat as your AI search assistant?
ChatGPT can be used for:
- Creative writing, although it’s not a dedicated AI writing tool.
- Getting personalized advice, like having your very own shopping or health assistant.
- Digesting complicated topics so you can understand them.
- Coding and debugging (great for geeks like me).
- Writing songs (yes, really).
Bing Chat is great for:
- Planning a detailed trip itinerary.
- Getting up to speed with the latest news.
- Composing content for social media, such as a LinkedIn post.
- Writing emails.
These are the results I got from searching for “best towns to visit in Brittany, France” in Bing Chat. The answer is short, easy to read, and helpful. I don’t need to search through travel blogs to find what I need.
I used Bing Chat’s Compose tab to write a paragraph about “Undercover Geek’s passion for tech”. I set the tone as Casual, the format as Paragraph, and the length as Short.
As you can see, the Compose feature in Bing Chat is super convenient to use and the customization options allow you to create a variety of content.
Is AI Bing the next big thing?
ChatGPT may be making all the tech headlines, but there’s now a frantic rush to get similar AI products to market. From Google’s AI chatbot Bard to Chinese tech giants Baidu, Alibaba, and JD.com with their ChatGPT-like products, tech companies are racing to get in front of the AI chatbot revolution. So, where does Microsoft’s AI-powered Bing fit into all of this?
Bing has recently surpassed a major milestone of 100 million daily active users, and Bing Chat has played an important role in helping Microsoft achieve these numbers. Although that pales in comparison to Google’s one billion daily active users, it still represents a significant leap forward for Microsoft and its efforts to increase its market share.
Google has dominated the way we interact with the Internet for decades. Still, the rise in AI tools such as Bing Chat can shift the balance, even if it’s unlikely to topple Google’s monopoly. While Google’s Bard has launched to somewhat of a shaky and controversial start, Bing is booming like never before. Is Bing on the up in the era of AI? The Undercover Geek says yes.