Microsoft may be close to releasing an AI chatbot version of Bing after all. Independent screenshots of the new chatbot interface surfaced late last week, showing a new Bing that could field queries and answer them via text as well as cite its sources.
Two different users apparently received trial versions of the new Bing and were able to make (and capture) a few queries. Student and designer Owen Yin tipped off The Verge and published his own findings on Medium.
Microsoft's new Bing will be located at Bing.com/new or at least the waitlist will, Yin wrote.
In both cases, the Bing chatbot uses the same AI, corroborating the rumour to some extent. Microsoft hasn't confirmed either as genuine.
In January, though, a report from The Information suggested that an AI-powered Bing could be released as early as March, with ChatGPT or a related technology powering Office, too. This was shortly before Microsoft invested an undisclosed amount of money into OpenAI, though reportedly the figure totals $10 billion over a ten-year period.
In any case, the new AI-powered Bing appears to show its work a bit when parsing a query. In one example shared by user Nazmul Hossain, Bing broke down the query, Is Microsoft Bing opened the chat feature worldwide? into its component nouns, then strung together a response based upon what it drew some several sources, including Linkedin, MSN, and Techspot, among others.
The response cited the sites providing the answers, and apparently linked to a response.
Interestingly enough, that same behaviour was not demonstrated on Owen Yin's post. Both Hossain and Yin posted the same screenshot of the new Bing, however, with an option to either field a chat as a traditional search or as a chatbot response.
The key difference between ChatGPT and Microsoft's new Bing, it appears, is that ChatGPT's knowledge ends in 2021. Bing's knowledge will be current, Yin claimed, allowing it to answer contemporary questions.
Last week, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said the company plans to lead the age of AI and deploy its models across our consumer and enterprise products.
With Microsoft's investment into OpenAI, the claims by Nadella, and the published leaks, it appears that Microsoft is preparing to push AI as a search tool in the near future.