New AI-Powered Bing Preview Available in Mobile Apps and Skype
Microsoft on Wednesday announced that its new Bing search preview, enhanced with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, is becoming available as Bing and Edge mobile apps, and also as part of the Skype consumer telephony and messaging service.
The new AI-powered Bing and Edge mobile apps previews are now "beginning to rollout" to Android and iOS smartphones, the announcement indicated. However, it also directed prospective mobile testers to this preview wait list signup page, which does not mention the mobile apps. Possibly, people need to get accepted via the wait list first to use the new Bing mobile apps -- it's not clear.
Microsoft also announced that it is now possible to use voice commands with the new AI-powered Bing mobile apps, as well as the new Bing used on the desktop.
The new AI-powered Bing in Skype is "available worldwide in preview today," Microsoft indicated. It's possibly just available to Skype users that have signed up to use the new Bing preview via the waitlist page -- Microsoft's announcement wasn't wholly clear on that detail. Bing can be added to group chats in Skype and will answer questions that all participants can see. It's also "fluent in more than 100 languages" to aid with translations.
Microsoft explained earlier this month that the new Bing preview uses "a new, next-generation" model that's "more powerful than OpenAI's ChatGPT." It's customized for search and uses Microsoft's so-called "Prometheus model" as well, which Microsoft characterizes as its proprietary way of working with the OpenAI model.
OpenAI itself is a generative AI research and development company. Microsoft is a partner with OpenAI, having invested $1 billion in 2019. More recently, Microsoft expanded its OpenAI partnership with a "multibillion" investment.
Microsoft applies AI to Bing's search ranking engine, which is described as improving its accuracy. The new Bing also has been made more chat oriented in response to questions. It will provide detailed replies to complex questions and can write poems or stories for users. It summarizes content that's found across the Web.
Possibly, Microsoft may gain inroads to Google's search predominance with such capabilities, although Google has its own budding AI-enhanced search product called "Bard."
The new Bing trials announced earlier this month were "limited previews." Since the launch of these limited previews, more than one million people have joined the wait list to try the new Bing, across 168 countries, the announcement indicated.
People are being encouraged by Microsoft to sign up at the new Bing wait-list page. "We're working as fast as possible to onboard more people every day," Microsoft indicated.
Microsoft claims that 71 percent of testers have reacted positively to the new AI-powered Bing. However, many recent media reports have described getting bizarre responses. The new Bing reportedly said it wanted to hack computers and spread misinformation, and it denied that some released movies were actually released.
Microsoft later attributed such behaviors to the new Bing preview being used too long, and it set some new limits for testers. Too many sessions "can confuse the model on what questions it is answering," Microsoft indicated in a Feb. 15 "Learnings" announcement. The model also reflected the tone of the questions asked, which "can lead to a style we didn't intend," Microsoft added.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.