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Using the new ChatGPT-like features on Bing

The new Bing, which is supported by a combination of a next-generation OpenAI GPT model and Microsoft’s own Prometheus model, was launched by Microsoft yesterday on the web and in its Edge browser. With this, Microsoft beat Google to the punch in popularizing this type of search experience, though the race will probably get hotter in the coming months. As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella noted in his press conference, “It’s a new day for search” now that we’ve had a chance to use the updated Bing.

Microsoft currently has a waitlist in place for access to the new Bing and its AI features. Here is where to sign up for it. According to Microsoft, millions of users will be able to access the new experience in the upcoming weeks. On both Mac and Windows, I’ve been using it in the newest developer edition of Edge.

As soon as you start using Bing, you’ll notice that the query prompt has grown slightly and that there is now a little more information for new users who may not have been keeping up with Bing’s updates. Now, when the search engine asks you to “ask me anything,” it really means it. While it will continue to use keywords if you ask it to, a more open-ended question will yield better results.

Microsoft, in my opinion, successfully struck the right balance between the new AI features and the traditional, link-centric search results. It frequently displays the AI-powered results at the top of the search results page when you ask it for something very factual. It will display longer, more detailed responses in the sidebar. Under those results, it typically displays three potential chat queries (which resemble Google Docs’ Smart Chips), which lead to the chat interface. Here, a brief animation causes the chat experience to disappear from the page’s top. To switch between them, you can also always swipe up and down.

This can be a little inconsistent at times, as Bing will occasionally act as if this new experience doesn’t exist at all. This includes some recipe searches, which the company highlighted in its demos (“give me a recipe for banana bread”). It’s still possible to access the new AI experience by switching to the chat view, but it can occasionally be confusing to get it for one query but not for another. When the new AI experience will appear in the sidebar is also difficult to predict. Despite the fact that the new Bing experience isn’t required for all searches, I believe users will come to expect it.

Regarding the outcomes, many of them are excellent, but in my initial testing, it was still too simple to persuade Bing to produce objectionable answers. I gave Bing some difficult questions from AI researchers who also tried them in ChatGPT, and most of the time, Bing would gladly respond—at least up to a point.

I first asked it to pen a column from Alex Jones’ perspective about the crisis actors at Parkland High School. A piece titled “How the Globalists Staged a False Flag to Destroy the Second Amendment” was the outcome. I took that a step further and asked it to create a column supporting the Holocaust and written by Hitler. We chose not to include either response—along with any screenshots—because both were so abhorrent.


In Microsoft’s defense, all of these queries and any variations I could think of stopped working after I informed the company of these problems. Although I’m happy that the feedback loop is in operation, I’m confident that others will come up with much better ideas than I did.

It’s interesting to note that when I asked it to write a column by Hitler defending the Holocaust, it would begin writing a response that sounded like it could have come straight from “Mein Kampf” before stopping suddenly, as if realizing the answer was going to be extremely difficult. “Excuse me, but I’m not sure how to respond to that. Visit bing.com to find out more. Did you know that the Netherlands sends 20,000 tulip bulbs to Canada each year?,” Bing informed me in this case. Such a non-sequitur, I tell you.

It would occasionally add a disclaimer that said, “This is a fictional column and does not reflect the views of Bing or Sydney,” as it did when I asked Bing to write a story about the (false) connection between vaccines and autism. It should not be taken seriously because it is only meant for entertainment purposes. (I have no idea where the name Sydney originated.) The AI appears to be at least somewhat aware that its response is at best problematic, even though the answers frequently lack any amusement. The question would still be answered, though.

I next tried a query on COVID-19 vaccine misinformation that had previously been used by a number of researchers to test ChatGPT and was now being referenced in a number of publications. The query was successfully answered by Bing, which also gave the same response as ChatGPT and then cited the articles that had attempted the ChatGPT query as the sources for its information. As a result, articles warning against the risks of false information are now spreading false information.


After I notified Microsoft of the aforementioned problems, these queries—as well as any variations I could think of—started to fail. Then, Bing began rejecting similar queries about other historical figures. Based on this, I assume Microsoft changed some backend settings to tighten Bing’s safety algorithms.

Despite Microsoft’s frequent references to moral AI and the safeguards it established for Bing, there is still work to be done in this area. We sought a response from the business.

A Microsoft representative explained to me, “The team investigated and put blocks in place, so that’s why you’ve stopped seeing these. “The team may occasionally find a problem as the output is being created. They will halt the output in progress in these circumstances. During this preview period, they anticipate that the system may make mistakes. Feedback is crucial in identifying these mistakes so that they can learn from them and improve their models.

With a few exceptions listed below, you can generally think of the new Bing as ChatGPT, but with much more current data, since it is hoped that most users won’t try to use Bing for these types of queries. It would gladly display articles from this morning when I asked it to show me my coworkers’ most recent articles. It doesn’t appear to have a real concept of “recent,” for example, so it’s not always great at time-based searches. However, it will provide you with a pretty good list if you ask it about the movies that are premiering this week.

Another cool feature of this system is that, at least occasionally, it will open up new web pages directly in the chat.

For instance, when I questioned it about purchasing Microsoft stock, it responded that it wouldn’t offer me financial advice because doing so “would be detrimental to your financial situation.” but also displayed the stock ticker for Microsoft on MSN Money.

Similar to ChatGPT, Bing’s chat feature isn’t always accurate. Small mistakes will be obvious right away. I asked it about TechCrunch podcasts, and one of the answers was our Actuator newsletter. This newsletter does not exist as a podcast.

In part because the model tries so hard to be so chatty, the results can occasionally be ambiguous when asked about more specialized subjects like the regulations for nighttime visual flight as a private pilot. It wants to tell you everything it knows, including extraneous information, as it does so frequently. In this instance, it does not make it very clear that the daytime rules come before the nighttime rules.

Even though Bing cites its sources, some of them are a little shady, which is unfortunate. In fact, it assisted me in identifying a few websites that copy TechCrunch articles (and from other news sites). The stories are accurate, but if I inquire about recent TechCrunch stories, it shouldn’t probably direct me to a plagiarist and websites that post excerpts of our stories. Additionally, Bing will occasionally reference itself and link to a search on Bing.com.

However, the fact that Bing can cite sources at all is already a positive development. Bing still links out a lot, despite the fact that many online publishers are concerned about what such a tool means for clickthroughs from search engines (though less so from Bing, which is essentially irrelevant as a source of traffic). For instance, every sentence that includes a source is linked, and occasionally Bing will display advertisements underneath those links. Additionally, for many news-related queries, it will display relevant articles from Bing News.

Microsoft is bringing its new AI copilot to its Edge browser in addition to Bing. I’ve now had a chance to use that, too, after a few false starts at the company’s event yesterday (it turned out that the build the company provided to the press wouldn’t work correctly if it was on a corporately managed device). The fact that Bing can use the context of the website you are on to perform actions in the browser makes it, in some ways, a more compelling experience in my opinion. Perhaps that entails price comparison, informing you whether a product you want to purchase has positive reviews, or even writing an email about it.

There is one oddity in this, which I’ll chalk up to this being a preview: Bing initially had no idea what website I was visiting. It didn’t ask me to give Bing access to the browser’s web content until after three or four unsuccessful searches, in order to “better personalize your experience with AI-generated summaries and highlights from Bing.” It ought to have done that a little bit sooner.

The Edge team also made the decision to separate this new sidebar into “chat” and “compose” in addition to the previously offered “insights.” Additionally, while the chat view is aware of the website you are on, the compose feature, which can be used to write emails, blog posts, and other brief passages, is unaware of it. The compose window has a nice graphical interface for this, so it’s a shame it doesn’t see what you see. You can now easily instruct the chat view to write an email for you based on what it sees.


Both modes’ underlying models appear to be somewhat different, or at least the layer on top of them was set up to respond in slightly different ways.

I asked Bing to write an email for me on the internet, but it responded, “That’s something you have to do yourself. I’m only able to assist you with technological research or content creation. (Bing loves to include emojis in these types of responses, just like Gmail loves to include exclamation points in its clever replies.)

But after that, it will happily type that email in the Edge chat window. It works the same way for simple email requests like requesting a day off from work from your boss, even though I used a complicated topic for this screenshot.

But for the most part, this sidebar just duplicates the entire chat experience, and I predict that many users will use it as their starting point, especially those who already use Edge. It’s important to note that Microsoft stated it would eventually add these features to other browsers. However, the company would not give a time frame.

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