Microsoft’s oft-forgotten search engine is about to get a new lease on life. As expected, the tech giant announced on Tuesday that it is partnering with OpenAI to enhance Bing with the company’s AI technology. However, Microsoft also had a surprise up its sleeve: the next release of Bing will feature a new next-generation large language model the company claims is “much more powerful” than ChatGPT and designed specifically to excel at search.
Underpinning the search engine is a new proprietary technology Microsoft is calling the Prometheus Model. Among the benefits of Prometheus are more relevant search results. Microsoft claims the model will also make using Bing safer and allow the company to update search results more quickly.
The new Bing offers a chat function and an expanded search bar that allows you to input up to a thousand characters. In one demo Microsoft showed off during its event, Yusuf Mehdi, the company’s consumer chief marketing officer, asked Bing to compare the most influential Mexican artists and their best-known paintings. Bing displayed its response in a new side panel that featured annotations and weblinks. Later, Mehdi asked the search engine to compare three pet vacuums while listing the pros and cons of each model. Mehdi said Bing could also help with questions where there might not be a precise answer. That said, in instances where Bing doesn’t know the answer to a query, the search engine will still try to point you to useful information. Microsoft is also adding a button to allow users to share feedback on the search engine’s new functionality. “I think of this as Search with your own personal helper,” Mehdi said.
The chat feature is there for when you want to use the generative capabilities of OpenAI’s technology. For example, say you want to start planning a trip to Hawaii. You can ask Bing to create a five-day itinerary for you. In its response, the search engine will include links to accommodations, flights and things you can do on the islands. The new Bing is available to preview starting today. Microsoft says anyone can visit Bing.com to try a few sample queries and sign up for the company’s waitlist. “We’re going to scale the preview to millions in the coming weeks,” Microsoft said. A mobile preview is coming soon as well.