New versions of Microsoft’s Internet browser and search engine will use artificial intelligence (AI) to provide users with instant typed answers, the company announced.
Software developed by the creators of ChatGPT, OpenAI, will now allow Bing and Edge to provide footnote answers to search queries and summarize detailed information from multiple sources.
Users can test drive the technology now before a full rollout in the “next few weeks.”
The announcement comes just one day after Google revealed its own AI-powered search engine chatbot, called Bard.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, said the changes were necessary because search engines hadn’t progressed for 20 years and half of Bing searches currently don’t respond to user queries.
“I think this technology is going to reshape virtually every category of software,” he told a news conference at the company’s Seattle headquarters.
“The race starts today, and we are going to move and move fast. More importantly, we want to have a lot of fun innovating search again, because it’s about time.
“It’s a new day in search, it’s a new paradigm for search, rapid innovation is going to come.”
AI-generated responses will now appear on the right of the Bing interface, while traditional web page links and images will remain on the left.
The company is also introducing a “Chat” feature on Bing similar to ChatGPT, the parent company into which Microsoft has invested billions of dollars.
In the Edge browser, next-generation AI technology can be used to create personalized meal plans, travel itineraries, and music trivia quizzes on user demand.
You can also immediately summarize academic articles and company reports, compare them with others, and rewrite the code in different languages.
The competition to innovate using AI was evident throughout the press conference, as Microsoft leaders criticized the lack of innovation from other search engines.
Yusuf Mehdi, its marketing director, said: “We have to adapt to search, not the other way around.
“Search has stayed the same since the last big turning point. The user experience is the same as it was 20 years ago.”
Google will host its own Bard launch event on Wednesday, which it revealed on Monday minutes before Microsoft announced today’s press conference.
Sundar Pichai, its chief executive, said the AI would “soon” be integrated into the company’s search engine to provide typed responses to search queries, as well as links to relevant web pages, images and videos.
He added that the tool would allow Google to answer questions in a more intelligent way that went beyond providing basic factual information.
Pichai insisted the bot would be “bold and responsible” but did not specify how the company would prevent it from producing harmful or abusive content.
Bard will use the company’s existing Lamda software, which an engineer last year described as “sentient” and the intellectual equivalent of a human child.
Blake Lemoine, 41, was fired by the firm after making the claims, which he described as “totally unsubstantiated”.