Microsoft's Bing redesign could actually eclipse Google Search

Microsoft’s Bing redesign could actually eclipse Google Search

Microsoft may have just caught Google off guard. Search, Google’s bread and butter, languished, becoming less useful over time, and it left an opening for competitors. You could call Google Search a victim of its own success. It was so good at delivering results and directing traffic to other ad-supported websites in its early days that Google search games and payment for placement in search results through advertising began to subsume the actual results that people were looking for.

Google regularly changes its search algorithms and systematically introduces new ways to search for things, but that wasn’t enough to change the general feeling online that if you want a real answer, you’re going to add “Reddit” to the end of what you’re looking for. Microsoft made it clear this week that it hopes to use this to its advantage.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Microsoft explained how it plans to use a more advanced form of OpenAI’s ChatGPT to radically reinvent how you interact with Bing, the company’s search engine, and Edge, the company’s browser. And that might be enough to shake up a playing field that Google has long ruled.

Bing and Bard

Bing will now allow you to start a conversation directly from the search box.Microsoft

We now have a pretty good idea why Microsoft has entered a new phase of its partnership with the startup OpenAI, investing billions more in the process. Microsoft believes that AI, especially conversational interactions with chatbots like ChatGPT, is the future of search.

In the new Microsoft Bing the company is testing, chat and traditional search are combined into a single unified text box. You can search for a web address and get a list of website links with a more conversational response on the side, or you can ask a question or issue a command and enter a “conversation” with Bing. Microsoft’s examples include simple queries such as “what’s the weather like?” or “what is the last score for [insert favorite sports team]– in other worse, the kind of requests you might ask Alexa or Google Assistant. Things get really interesting, though, with more complex requests.

Want to make a specific recipe, but substitute an ingredient like eggs? Microsoft says the new Bing can “scrutinize results from across the web to find and summarize the answer you’re looking for,” presenting everything in a more digestible and ideally helpful answer from Bing itself. You can do the same with even more complicated requests, like asking for a full itinerary for a trip to Hawaii or asking Bing to find the best TV to buy.

You can have Edge compose text for you from the new Edge sidebar.Microsoft

In the updated version of Edge, Bing follows in the “Edge sidebar” to handle other tasks, such as summarizing a webpage (Microsoft has demonstrated that Bing reads and summarizes multiple pages of a PDF) and Compose text for emails and social media posts (Microsoft, of course, LinkedIn spamming demo). Like many Microsoft projects, the company points out that these tools could have a radical impact on the productivity of people, creative or not, by acting more like a partner in research and administrative tasks, rather than just a search engine. search or a browser.

Bard will operate much like the new Bing, sitting above traditional search results and providing more digestible answers.Google

If you’ve been playing around with the publicly available version of ChatGPT, these tips might not be too impressive. With the billions of texts that ChatGPT has been fed, the vanilla version of OpenAI is able to compose and answer questions (even incorrectly) just like the new Bing. Microsoft isn’t alone in experimenting with AI chatbots and search, either. Google Newly Announced Bardwho uses the TheMDA technology to similarly examine and summarize research results and answer more open and creative questions. It’s a clear response to Microsoft’s aggressive push with OpenAI, a good illustration of how exposed Google is and where the business philosophy may differ between the two companies.

confident ignorance

Microsoft is pretty clear that Bing can and will lie in some responses.Microsoft

While it’s all well and good to have a casual conversation with the AI, its willingness to “Yes and” regularly leads search algorithms to provide false direct answers. It is well documented with ChatGPT at this point, and will likely be true for the new Bing experience as well. Microsoft says the same in an FAQ for the new Bing: “Bing sometimes distorts the information it finds” and even if its answers “sound convincing”, they can still be “incomplete, inaccurate or inappropriate”.

It’s for this reason that it seems like Google is a bit more careful about how it presents Bard to the public. And Bard has already got some facts wrong, even only in Google promotional images. One possible remedy for Bing’s ignorance is that Microsoft plans to quote all information provided by Bing in chat and summaries so you can easily follow a link to where the AI ​​gets that information. But that opens up a whole different Pandora’s box, because who’s going to take the extra step and click another link?

Not only could the popularity of something like the new Bing divert potential traffic, views, and advertising success from websites that rely on good SEO to get people to see ads on their website, but it is also just an extra barrier between you and an accurate answer. For Microsoft, which only has around 3% of the search engine market share according to StatCounterpublisher anger may not be a problem, but for Google it is an existential risk.

Right now, Microsoft doesn’t really have a good answer to this problem. “Ultimately, research is a matter of fair use,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. interview on the decoder podcast after the AI ​​event. “At the end of the day, we can only use all of this content in a search engine if we’re driving traffic for the people who created it.”

This fair use agreement is one that search engines like Google or Bing have lived and died, but that doesn’t change the fact that displaying information differently will change how people interact with it. Asked directly about the problem, Nadella compared it to what search engines are already doing with instant answers. “Even today’s search has that, we have answers…I don’t think that’s a complete departure from what’s expected of a search engine today, which is supposed to really respond to your request,” Nadella said.

Something’s gonna change

The rush to integrate chat into search could dramatically change the usefulness of search engines, both for the people who use them every day and for the companies that depend on them to stay in business. There’s no clear answer as to how the relationship between online advertisers, publishers and search engine providers will change in our chatbot-accelerated future, but the possibility of Microsoft making a dent in Google is on the table. It could further complicate where information comes from online, but if it loosens Google’s grip on the web in general, that seems like a risk some will be willing to take.

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