Bing Chat AI Now Open To All As Microsoft Rolls Out New Features

Microsoft Bing has always been dwarfed by Google as a search engine, but it recently cut to the front of the race with its AI chatbot. Based on OpenAI's most advanced large language model (LLM), GPT-4, the Bing AI chatbot has been in a limited preview since its launch in February 2023. However, the queuing to try the chatbot ends today as it is now moving out of the limited preview period and will be available to everyone with a Microsoft account.

In addition to moving to an open preview phase, Microsoft's Bing AI chatbot also gets a few nifty features, such as responses in image and video formats. Also, Bing Chat will now move forward from one-time chat sessions and allow multi-session interactions along with readily available chat history.

Microsoft is also adding a persistent AI assistant within its Edge browser and will soon bring support for ChatGPT plugins so users can interact with other services without leaving the chatbot.

Richer media responses and a major Edge redesign

Microsoft says users in the early preview have engaged in over half a billion chats with the Bing AI chatbot over the last three months. Thus, it will now support richer media in responses to make responses more insightful and engaging. This means you will now see graphs, images, and richer formatting in the text to make information easier to consume.

Microsoft's Bing Image Creator is based on OpenAI's DALL-E model and generates images from text prompts. The Image Creator is already a part of the Bing chatbot and is now getting support for more than 100 languages. These changes are central to the Edge browser experience, and Microsoft says it is the beginning of a major redesign coming to the browser with a better user interface that includes "a streamlined look, rounded corners, organized containers, and semi-transparent visual elements."

Microsoft is also using GPT-4's capabilities to process images as prompts and working to improve image-based search in the Bing chatbot for a more contextual search.

Edge sidebar and persistent history to co-pilot your web journey

Making it central to the Edge experience, the Bing chatbot will be accessible through the Edge sidebar. This feature has already been available to existing users in the chatbot's limited preview.

Microsoft says it will use context from previous conversations and make these chats more personalized over time. It will also start storing and showing chat history in the sidebar so you can pick up from the same point where you last left. This may have privacy implications, as seen in the case of OpenAI's own ChatGPT chatbot. OpenAI recently added the option to clear chat history and prevent the tool from storing personal chats, so we may expect Microsoft to replicate the same features.

In addition, Microsoft is adding the option to export chat responses and quickly share them over interfaces, including social media or Microsoft Office products. Along with the desktop browser, the Microsoft Edge browser for Android and iOS will now also offer contextual summaries and chat features to all users.

Third-party plugin support

Like OpenAI's own ChatGPT, Microsoft will also integrate other plugins. It is working with third-party developers such as OpenTable to help you find and reserve tables at restaurants and WolframAlpha to help you with insightful answers to math and science problems, whether that is to add to your own understanding or help with your homework. Details about such partnerships will be announced at the upcoming iteration of the Microsoft Build annual developers' conference, scheduled from May 23 through May 25.

Microsoft has already introduced co-pilot for its suite of Office tools, and the same will now also be available on the cloud versions accessible in the Edge browser. Microsoft Edge sidebar will offer contextual suggestions and assist with documents.

Notably, while Bing AI is now available to all users, it is still in the preview phase, and Microsoft will seek users' feedback to improve the chatbot. It also vows to contribute to the ethical use of AI and promises to work with OpenAI to weed out any harmful, biased, or incorrect responses from the platform.

If you haven't already, you can now try the Bing AI chatbot by downloading the Microsoft Edge browser on your desktop.