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A Comprehensive Guide to Microsoft’s Bing AI Chatbot

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Updated by Artyom G.
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As AI continues to develop, it is clear we are witnessing a paradigm shift in how we use and interact with search engines. Microsoft is leading the charge in this area by boldly weaving artificial intelligence into the core of its search engine to form the Bing Ai chatbot. Other major players, including the search giant Google, are also following suit with AI integrations.

Microsoft’s latest breakthrough could be more than a mere technological upgrade. At this juncture, it seems more like a seismic shift set to transform our digital interactions. Whether you’re a student knee-deep in project research, professional seeking prompt solutions to niche problems, or an individual simply aiming to understand this cutting-edge technology, Bing’s AI chatbot promises to make your digital interactions more impactful than ever before. In this guide, we explore everything you need to know about Bing’s AI chatbot, uncovering its features, capabilities, the underlying technology powering it, and its limitations.

What is Bing Chat?

bign ai chatbot

Microsoft’s Bing AI is a part of the Bing search engine. It uses the same underlying technology as ChatGPT to deliver more pertinent search results and execute various tasks.

Bing AI is powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4 generative large language model (LLM). Just like ChatGPT, it was designed to comb through and synthesize data into human-like responses — and by human-like, we mean responses that exhibit understanding, contextual relevance, and a knack for engaging in conversation you’d expect from a human counterpart, minus the ‘uhms’ and ‘ahs.’

The Bing chatbot is integrated right into the Bing search engine, making it accessible to anyone with an internet connection. But it’s more than just a search engine sidekick. You could also use it as a virtual assistant. For instance, instead of searching “road trip planning,” you could type something like, “Plan a 7-day road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles, including must-see sights and budget-friendly accommodations.” 

Or, instead of struggling to draft an important email, you could ask, “Help me draft an email to my team about the upcoming project deadline.” If you’re in need of a little humor, you could request, “Tell me a funny joke about computers.” And if you’re looking to create an engaging quiz for a social gathering, you could ask, “Create a fun trivia quiz about 90s pop culture.”

Is Bing better than Google now?

Microsoft’s masterstroke of introducing AI in Bing search has definitely revitalized its popularity and relevance in an otherwise monopolized search market. Bing Chat, in particular, took as little as a month to reach 100 million daily active users.

Despite the recent success, Bing still has a long way to go before posing any credible threat to Google’s absolute domination of the internet search market. For perspective, the figure below will help you understand the gargantuan gap between the two.

Data: Statcounter
Bing vs. Google: Statcounter

How to access Bing AI?

To try out the Bing AI chatbot, head over to the Bing search engine, sign into your Microsoft account, and write your query as if you were conversing with another human — forget the old-school method of typing in just a keyword or phrase. 

Bing will serve up your regular search results, but expressing your query in a conversational style will typically bring the AI chatbot into action. A chatbot box should appear either at the top or to the side of your results. Within this box, you’ll find an initial response to your query and a space to ask any follow-up questions you might have.

You can also access the chatbot by clicking on the chat button, as shown in the image below. Alternatively, you could also click on the chat button on the Bing home page. If you need further help, check our step-by-step guide on how to use Bing Chat.

Bing chat: Bing
Bing chat: Bing

What are the key features of Bing AI?

Some of the key Bing AI features include:

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Bing’s Intelligent Search feature is based on three core components — Intelligent Answers, Intelligent Image Search, and Conversational Search.

You could think of Intelligent Answers as an upgraded version of Featured Snippets. Unlike Featured Snippets that fetch a single answer, Bing summarizes or compares information from multiple sources, offering a multi-layered view of the topic. It even rolls out a carousel of intelligent answers for queries with multiple responses. The goal is to leapfrog traditional hyperlinks and offer instant access to pertinent information.

Intelligent Image Search, meanwhile, is reminiscent of Pinterest’s 2016 visual search, albeit with added features. It brings object recognition to images, making every picture “shoppable.” This feature also gives Bing the ability to identify buildings and landmarks in user photos or image searches. 

Conversational Search, the third key component of Intelligent Search, boosts search suggest/autocomplete. Bing lends a hand to users with query refinement suggestions based on their initial query, helping to zero in on the best answer swiftly. 

Chat mode

In true chatbot style, Bing Chat scours the web and neatly wraps up the findings for you. It’s almost the spitting image of ChatGPT, sharing an ability to trawl through the internet, gathering valuable information, and providing the sources that helped it stitch together the final results.

Content generation

In addition to its intelligent and interactive search/chat capabilities, Bing AI has also become a wordsmith. Need to pen an email summarizing your research findings? Bing can help. Just provide it with a prompt, and Bing will readily draft the requested content. 

A word of caution here for those out of the loop —  Bing (and its underlying GPT4 technology) is not really a “thinking” machine. Instead, it relies on a language model with a primary function to repeat what it deems as contextually relevant information. So, it is not unusual for the chatbot to generate output that is plagiarized, misleading, or even outright wrong.

With AI-powered Microsoft Edge, your research has a helping hand. You can summon Bing’s insights in a sidebar while browsing. Found a product listing that piqued your interest? Launch the sidebar, and Bing can fill you in on the product’s details. It can also skim through extensive documents, pull out essential insights, and even offer a comparative study with another document.

Addressing broader queries

Bing is all set to wrestle with broader queries. Gone are the days of settling for a plain website link; Bing now provides a succinct summary of key details connected to your inquiry. You can use the chat function to see the specifics and a more focused breakdown.

Creative mode

Bing uses a version on Dall-E that gives you the ability to create unique and original images using just text prompts. Enter the “Creative” mode in Bing Chat and let it weave unique and original images from textual cues. For instance, fancy an illustration of a guitar-strumming dolphin? Just toss the idea, and Bing will promptly craft a one-of-a-kind graphic.

chat function bing
Chat function: Bing

How does Bing AI work?

The revamped Bing brings OpenAI’s GPT-4 model into its folds, specifically fine-tuned for web search. It’s integrated into Bing’s core search engine, along with Microsoft’s Prometheus model.

At the heart of it all, it’s the Bing Orchestrator. Think of it as the grand conductor, coordinating between Bing’s vast website index and GPT-4. The result is an input/output performance function called ‘grounding,’ which lends context to the AI model’s responses. Consequently, the AI uses the most up-to-date and relevant information from the Bing index to respond to your queries, making inaccuracies a thing of the past.

The Bing Orchestrator doesn’t stop there. It goes above and beyond by generating iterative queries, providing a more extensive set of answers and a context-rich experience for the GPT model. That means users get the full picture in every response.

Bing’s AI integration also weaves in context-sensitive links. Similar to Wikipedia, the Bing Orchestrator tags chat answers with references to website sources, which makes information verification much easier.

Bing AI vs. ChatGPT 4 vs. Google Bard

To start with, Bing AI, ChatGPT, and Bard all do a more-than-a-decent job responding to inquiries in a manner resembling human conversations. That said, each exhibits unique performance characteristics. 

Under the hood, Bing AI has the same technology that powers ChatGPT 4, but it takes its game a notch higher by offering native image generation capabilities. Bard, meanwhile, started with Google’s proprietary LaMDA model but has since switched to the PaLM2 model.

“With improved math, logic, and reasoning skills, Bard can now help generate, explain and debug code in 20+ programming languages — and coding has quickly become one of the most popular things people are doing with Bard,” Google stated.

As large language models, none of the three possess any strict sense of “thinking” or “analytical” capabilities. So, it’s not unusual to see them faltering on factual accuracy every now and then. We are unable to objectively pinpoint which of the three bots hallucinate the most or least. However, based on this author’s personal experience, Bard used to falter much more than GPT-4 when it started but has since improved to a noticeable degree.

As of the end of June 2023, ChatGPT 4 comes with a context window of 25,000 words, which is significantly higher than that of Bard. Think of the “context window” as the short-term memory of these chatbots. They rely on it to continue conversations within a context. Broadly speaking, the larger the context window, the better the output. 

Between Bing AI and ChatGPT 4, Bing AI may be the better choice for internet searches and use cases that require a conversational and engaging tool. Examples include social media interactions, scooping up quick factual information, general chit-chat, and so on. ChatGPT 4, meanwhile, is a better fit for tasks that require more complex and detailed responses — those needed in legal writing, scientific studies, technical writing, and so on. 

Reaction to criticism

Among the three, Bing AI is definitely the most resistant to criticism or counter-arguments. It occasionally behaves like an easily-irritable teenager that snaps and refuses to have a conversation if you point out their mistake.

Although we encountered several instances where the Bing chatbot would cease a conversation after a disagreement, none were as bad as the experience shared by this Redditor.

Bing's reaction to criticism: Reddit
Bing’s reaction to criticism: Reddit

Or this one, for that matter.

Source: Reddit
Source: Reddit

Comparatively, ChatGPT and Bard are quick to apologize when a mistake is pointed out (often even if there was no mistake).

Price and availability

Both Bing AI and Google Bard are available for free. You can engage Bing AI in up to 30 chats per session and 300 chats daily via Bing Chat.

On the other hand, you have to pay $20 a month (plus local taxes, if applicable) to access OpenAI’s ChatGPT 4. As of June 2023, ChatGPT 4 allows a maximum of 25 prompts per three hours. However, no such charges or limitations are in place for the older and less-sophisticated model, ChatGPT 3.5.

Make the most out of Bing AI

It’s important to use a conversational, natural language style when formulating your search queries or prompts to get the best out of Bing AI. Although the concept of natural language processing suggests wider accessibility by design, the reality is slightly more nuanced. 

The classic keyword-based search strategies that previously yielded optimal results aren’t as effective when engaging with AI chatbots. Users must adopt and master new natural language querying techniques to unlock Bing AI’s full potential. Adapting to these novel techniques requires a shift in mindset and approach. And those who can successfully navigate this transition will undoubtedly gain a significant edge in terms of productivity.

Frequently asked questions

What is Bing’s AI chatbot?

Is Bing AI free to use?

Is Bing AI better than ChatGPT?

What are the key features of Bing AI?

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Shilpa Lama
Shilpa is a freelance tech writer and journalist who is deeply passionate about artificial intelligence and pro-freedom technologies such as distributed ledgers and cryptocurrencies. She has been covering the blockchain industry since 2017. Before her ongoing stint in tech media, Shilpa was lending her skills to government-backed fintech endeavors in Bahrain and a leading US-based non-profit dedicated to supporting open-source software projects. In her current role, she focuses on...
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