Bing and Edge are hitting their stride with a bunch of new AI features. Credit: Microsoft
It’s only been three months since Microsoft launched AI-powered versions of Bing and the Edge browser. Ever since the tech company boldly staked a claim for a bigger piece of the search pie, it’s been a wild ride. AI-enhanced Bing said some weird things, posed a serious threat to Google’s AI developments, and gained 100 million daily users. It’s small potatoes compared to Google search marketshare, with users numbering in the billions, but as Microsoft’s corporate vice president Yusuf Mehdi said, “it feels good to be at the dance.” Now, Microsoft isn’t just at the dance, but leading the conga line.
Thursday’s announcement marks the next chapter of Microsoft’s plans to make Bing and Edge as useful as possible with AI. With the new Bing and Edge updates you can do multimedia search, maintain your chat history as you browse the internet, export and share conversations, and use a new feature called “actions” to help you complete tasks. Plus, previously in limited preview, Bing is now available to everyone.
Read on for the full breakdown of all of the new Bing and Edge announcements.
Visual search when words can’t expressBing chat now supports more visual input and output in a few different ways. In a Bing conversation, responses will include images, videos, even graphs and charts.
Bing has more visual responses for us visual creatures. Credit: Microsoft
Microsoft is also expanding multi-modal capabilities, meaning it can understand images and videos you share. For example, you can upload an image of a sweater your friend was wearing and it will find you similar examples you can buy. Recently, Microsoft announced image creator, which uses OpenAI’s DALL-E model to generate images from a text prompt. This feature is now available for over 100 languages.
Finally your chat history is savedMicrosoft delivered on one of the most requested features, which is the ability to save and share Bing conversations. Soon you’ll be able to see a log of all your sessions in Bing chat.
Now you can finally access your chat history, and pick up where you left off. Credit: Microsoft
When you click on one of the linked articles in the response, the Bing response will appear in the Edge sidebar next to the article. Microsoft already announced a Bing chatbot that sits in the sidebar on the Edge browser. This builds on that feature, by populating the sidebar with context about what you were looking for, so you don’t have to switch back and forth between tabs.
The Bing sidebar follows you to the page it referenced so you don’t have to switch back and forth. Credit: Microsoft
You can also share chat conversations, an option that includes the original prompt and the response, or you can export a conversation to a PDF, text file, or Word document.
Bing now explains itself moreEver asked Bing to summarize a long document or web page, but wondered about its accuracy or tendency to hallucinate? Bing now has a version of “show your work” that would make teachers happy.
Let’s say you ask Bing to summarize an academic paper in the Edge sidebar on the open page. The summary will show footnotes of where it got that information, or you can send a follow up prompt asking where it got a specific detail of the paper and it will highlight that part of the text. It’s a reassuring feature that lets users peer a little into the black box.
‘Actions’ speak louder than…doing stuff yourself”Actions” is a new feature that nudges AI a little closer to doing tasks for you. Using the Edge browser, you can ask Bing to find streaming options for a movie and it will pull them up for you. You can also ask it to help with various settings related to the browser, such as asking it to group tabs together by theme, or asking it to import passwords from another browser.
Actions take AI one step further to doing everything for you. Credit: Microsoft
Third party plugins Last but not least, Microsoft is following in OpenAI’s footsteps by adding third party plugins to Bing chat. Soon you’ll be able to add a plugin for sites like OpenTable, and use Bing to search for restaurants and book reservations.
Bing now has plugins just like ChatGPT. Credit: Microsoft
Cecily is a tech reporter at Mashable who covers AI, Apple, and emerging tech trends. Before getting her master’s degree at Columbia Journalism School, she spent several years working with startups and social impact businesses for Unreasonable Group and B Lab. Before that, she co-founded a startup consulting business for emerging entrepreneurial hubs in South America, Europe, and Asia. You can find her on Twitter at @cecily_mauran(opens in a new tab).
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