Microsoft unveils the new Bing with AI chat integrations
Microsoft revealed some exciting new projects on Tuesday, including Co-Pilot AI integration into many of its most popular products, including the new Microsoft Bing with Chat integration.
Microsoft invited me out to its Redmond, Washington, campus with little more than a promise of cool stuff, face time (from an audience perspective) with company CEO Satya Nadella, and hands-on experiences with the new Bing.
And while Microsoft had been mum about the purpose of this event, which wasn’t even live-streamed, signs pointed to ChatGPT-like integration for a couple of days at least. It comes just weeks after Microsoft invested $10 billion in OpenAI’s white-hot ChatGPT chatbot, plus OpenAI CEO Sam Altman all but confirmed the news when he tweeted a photo of himself and Nadella ) at Microsoft’s campus with the caption, “hello from redmond! excited for the event tomorrow.”
Find out more about the announcement as it happened, as well as my initial reactions to the news as I heard it.
15:05:49 – February 07, 2023
I wonder if Sam Altman, the mastermind behind OpenAI and ChatGPT knows how to keep secrets? Here’s his Twitter post that may have prompted Microsoft to let the cat out of the bag about the event a bit early.
It wasn’t much to go on but having Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella and Altman in one place and the latter mentioning not just his location but the event as well, pretty much blew Microsoft’s chance at a big surprise reveal.
Oh well, CEOs do CEO stuff, and we just sit back and watch.
16:05:07 – February 07, 2023
Okay, Bellevue, which is right next to Seattle and not far from Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington, headquarters, doesn’t appear too excited about today’s event. It’s been cold and rainy here since yesterday.
I’d ask ChatGPT why it rains so much in Seattle, but the popular chatbot is now overwhelmed and I won’t be able to access it until OpenAI scales up. Maybe that $10 billion Microsoft is pouring into it will help.
In any case, we’re about two hours away from Microsoft’s big reveal. I’ll soon be heading over to Microsoft’s campus to register and get situated. Just remember, there’s no livestream, so this Live Blog will be one of the only ways to learn what Microsoft plans to do with ChatGPT.
16:43:19 – February 07, 2023
We got the closest thing to a preview of what Microsoft could have in store today earlier this week when a Bing user briefly got access to a version of the search engine with ChatGPT integration.
Student and designer Owen Yin (below) was treated to a ChatGPT-enhanced Bing for a short period, during which he discovered that you get 1,000 characters to ask more open-ended questions than the ones traditional search engines are comfortable with. That all sounds rather familiar.
One of the screenshots shows a search focused on art and craft ideas for a toddler, “using only cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, paper and string”. This is the kind of specific request that ChatGPT currently loves to answer, albeit with varying results.
It’s almost certain that we’ll see demos on these lines at Microsoft’s event today, but we’re expecting a lot more, too.
We’re now on the way to Microsoft’s campus, ahead of its mysterious event. A reminder that it kicks off in less than an hour at 10am PT / 6pm GMT (which is 4am AEST on February 8, for early-rising Australians).
There’s no official livestream, so the best way to follow all of the A.I news – and we’re expecting a ton of it – is here with us in this liveblog. Given that Google has lined up its own event tomorrow, this could be two of the biggest days we see in tech this year.
17:25:17 – February 07, 2023
After a quick drive from Bellevue on a bus filled with some of the tech media’s biggest names, we arrived at Microsoft Campus Building 33 executive briefing center.
Before they let us into the event hall, we were in a large holding area eating breakfast, drinking coffee, and commiserating about the strangeness of this event.
No one said yes to this event and knew what to expect. Now they we do (it’s ChatGPT integration), we wonder about the scale of Microsoft’s aspirations.
It’s clear that this bigger than just a Bing integration. OpenAI’s ChatGPT powers could well be embedded into a multitude of Mcirosoft products. Windows now seems a lock, as does Office. Still, there’s a sense that we’re going to be bowled over by something even bigger.
We’ll know all the answers in 35 minutes or so.
17:56:50 – February 07, 2023
One of the bigger hints that today’s Microsoft event could be about more than Bing came back at CES. The company’s Chief Product Officer Panos Panay declared that “AI is going to reinvent how you do everything on Windows, quite literally”.
Last year, we already saw Microsoft demo its Windows 11 Voice Focus feature, which eliminates distracting background noise in video conferencing and other office software without using the CPU or GPU. We’re expecting to see much more than that in just a few minutes.
18:02:14 – February 07, 2023
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is on stage talking about history and how we got to this moment.
18:05:44 – February 07, 2023
Nadella is telling us about an incredible GPT AI demo he first saw in Mumbai. And how it helped a rural farmer in India get access to a government program.
“Now we’ve got to scale it with a real understanding that we can’t break things.”
Microsoft did come out in 2016 with AI principles.
“When we come up with new models, we put a premium on human agency.”
18:08:54 – February 07, 2023
Nadella: We want to “build AI that’s more aligned with human values.”
“I think this technology is going to reshape pretty much every software category.”
“All computer interaction is going to me mediated with an agent”
This is gonna be big.
18:14:59 – February 07, 2023
Nadella: “We’re starting with Search.
We’re gonna move fast. Every day we want to bring out new things.”
Yusuf Mehdi is introducing “Your co-pilot for the web”
All new Bing Search Engine and Edge Web Browser.
Mehdi says searches are more effective with fewer words.
He’s also talking about the three parts of search Navigaitons, Information, Everything Else
“More than half of all queries aren’t delivering the information people want.”
18:19:26 – February 07, 2023
Microsoft is officially announcing the new Bing. Bing is running on a new, next-generation large language model. One that is more powerful than ChatGPT.
They developed a propriety way of working with OpenAI. It’s called The Prometheus Model.
Applied the AI model to our core search ranking engine and saw the largest increase in relevance in decades.
By the way, the new bing does support 1,000 character queries
18:25:14 – February 07, 2023
The new Microsoft Bing can do things like finding egg substitutes in a recipe and suggest the exact ingredients. The searches we’re seeing are all-natural language.
There’s also a new chat experience in Bing, which is integrated in the menu. It’s fully aware of the query you started with in the Bing search engine.
18:30:01 – February 07, 2023
Bing Chat lets you conversationally plan a trip. It keeps refining the answers based on your queries. “This is just so much better than today’s search,” said Mehdi.
“Top Japanese poets” returns a list with both Japanese and English. it even auto translated one of his Haikus.
“Look how easy this is to discover something new,” says Mehdi.
Bing can also generate the content to help you get started. “Create a summary email, sharing this itinerary.”
If you want the letter in multiple languages, Bing can translate, automatically over 100 languages.
18:34:51 – February 07, 2023
The summary of what Bing can do: Better search, complete answers, chat, and create.
What if you could get Co-Pilot on the 1.4 bullion PCs?
Now Edge has the AI-enhanced Bing integrated into the upper right corner.
There’s a new sidebar with Chat, Compose, Overview, and Site info. But the key here is you can open Chat to quickly investigate the page and information about it and the topics includes.
Yes, you can even ask Bing to rewrite code in a new programming language.
18:39:38 – February 07, 2023
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is on stage explaining that they’re working with Microsoft to get their AI into the hands of millions of people.
“We’re eager to keep learning from real-world use.”
Microsoft is not using ChatGPT, it’s really a cusotmizede version for Co-Pilot.
Altman was only on for a few minutes.
18:47:49 – February 07, 2023
Naturally, Microsoft is leveraging Azure and its infrastructure to power its AI integration across Bing and Edge (and by extension, Windows).
Microsoft is also making sure “its AI systems are responsible by design.”
Spell checking and grammar rewriting have used generative AI for years, so the company has some experience in this area.
We have learned about the risks that generative AI can bring like bias and jailbreaks. They have developed technologies to mitigate them.
18:52:51 – February 07, 2023
This is how Microsoft built Bing’s AI mitigation layers.
They test the system using the Prometheus model to check and analyze conversations. This helps the system to classify conversations automatically.
So, they test, analyze and improve, at least according to Microsoft.
This can help with the accuracy and freshness of information, as well. this is interesting because ChatGPT still seems to struggle with this.
The new Bing is live today on the desktop for a limited preview. You can sign up on a waitlist to get access to full experience.
We here get the full experience now.
Will expand to millions of people in coming weeks. Will also launch a mobile version
18:55:13 – February 07, 2023
The meat of the unveiling is done. Now they’re holding a brief Q+A.
19:03:41 – February 07, 2023
On a question about how the chatbot will credit its content sources, Yusuf said:
“We care a bunch about driving traffic back to content creators. That’s why we put those annotations and citations…to click and get through to those sites.”
On toxic information, Microsoft says that they combine Bing sources, that contribute to freshness that you can see anywhere. Also, Bing has already been working for years to serve the right and appropriate information they’re looking for.
We’ve also added new pieces that look at what generative and chat content looks like and added checks at the end to ensure the information is quality and what they’re looking for.
19:07:18 – February 07, 2023
On the question of the amount of compute power needed to drive systems like this and sustainability?
Offload what doesn’t need heavy compute. Big commitment to have that substantiality over the course of what we build.
19:11:48 – February 07, 2023
Good news, Microsoft is not charging but ads will be there from the start.
And that’s it for the event. I’m off to have some hands-on time with the new Bing and these powerful AI tools.
Thanks for following along and be sure to check out all of our news report and hands-on expeirences to come from the event.
It’s the morning after Microsoft’s big A.I event and as the dust settles, it was clearly a hugely significant one – not just for Bing, but virtually every piece of Microsoft software.
As our hands-on with the new Bing search engine revealed, the new A.I integration means it’s probably the first time in a decade that you’ll “start realizing or caring that Microsoft has had a search engine of its own”.
But the addition of AI chat also isn’t a gimmick – Microsoft has “combined a seasoned search engine with what might arguably be considered the best-in-class consumer AI”. That’s a big deal, particularly as Microsoft’s done it before Google. Well, at least until Google’s A.I event later today.
What’s the new Bing like to use? Our first look found it to be “elegant and useful”, with the Bing Chat integration into Microsoft Edge able to give you a summary of a page. But crucially, “it’s also fun”. For a more in-depth look at Microsoft’s new search engine, head over to that new Bing preview.