(Redmond) It will soon be possible to “chat” online with Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, which hopes to fundamentally transform the user experience through artificial intelligence (AI) and regain ground on Google.
Satya Nadella, the boss of Microsoft, spoke of a “new era” for research on the internet, before announcing the integration into Bing of new AI technologies developed by the computer giant and by the startup OpenAI.
“The race starts today”, he launched, referring to Google, which largely dominates this market and which on Monday unveiled “Bard”, a competitor to ChatGPT, OpenAI’s star software capable of generating all kinds of texts according to user requests.
The new Bing, available only in test version for the moment, is supposed to give more relevant and more complete results, with direct answers to questions from Internet users, in addition to links that refer to other pages on the web.
Above all, it includes a chatbot (conversational robot), capable of planning a three-day trip to Venice according to a given budget or of writing an email according to the instructions of the user.
He is a “co-pilot” but the Internet user remains at the controls, underlined Yusuf Mehdi, a vice-president of the Redmond group (northwestern United States), during a press conference whose theme had been kept secret until the last minute.
This new product from Microsoft has been expected since last year, when the success of ChatGPT imposed so-called “generative” AI as a fundamental trend.
The Windows inventor invested $1 billion in OpenAI in 2019 and just struck a new multi-billion deal with the California-based startup founded in 2015
This company was previously known only in restricted circles, for two automated creation software, Dall-E for the generation of images and GPT-3 for the generation of texts (used in ChatGPT).
Advances in OpenAI have put Microsoft back in the race for online innovation.
Last December, Google held about 84% of the online search market, compared to 9% for Bing, according to Statista. In one year, the Microsoft engine has nibbled 2% from the sector giant.
“There needs to be innovation in online research because this technology is so important to humanity. And so you need competition,” Jordi Ribas, vice-president of Microsoft, who has worked on Bing for 15 years, told AFP. “That’s why I never got discouraged.”
His team worked tirelessly to find the right balance, knowing that ChatGPT is also notorious for its sometimes completely wrong answers, given with great aplomb.
“It’s an amazing toy, but it’s still a bit of a toy. The question was how to turn it into a tool that doesn’t hallucinate […] and helps accomplish tasks that used to take hours in minutes,” he said.
“The question is whether this is the moment that will fundamentally change online search,” reacted Carolina Milanesi of Creative Strategies.
“And I do believe that it’s going to be a revolution for users,” she added. “For example, we can make a menu for the week and get the shopping list organized according to the location of the ingredients in the supermarket”.
“Very little effort”
The integration of the latest advances in AI to Bing could “upset the balance of power in this market, in favor of Redmond”, estimates analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush.
Beyond the search engine, Microsoft also plans to transform Windows, its Office office suite and its services (collaborative tools, cloud, etc.).
The process has already started.
In October, the company presented “Designer”, a software based in particular on Dall-E, to “instantly generate a variety of designs with very little effort”, according to Liat Ben-Zur, a vice president of the group. .
“Anyone can be a creator with the right tools. Nearly 20 million American consumers create online content and earn revenue from it,” he added in a statement.
Microsoft intends to integrate Designer into Edge, its internet browser much less used than Chrome (Google) or Safari (Apple).
The group has also developed Copilot, a paid service launched in June 2022 to help engineers generate computer code with the help of OpenAI AI.
And recently GPT-3.5 has been added to the professional Teams platform to make meetings more “intelligent and personalized”, including automatically generated summaries.