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Don’t call it a comeback…

After years of being viewed as a secondary, or even worse, web search option, Microsoft’s Bing is getting a new lease on life, as the company moves quickly to add in adaptive AI elements, via its investment in OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT.

Microsoft Bing 2.0

As you can see in this example, the updated Bing, which is now available in preview mode (on desktop only) includes an updated search interface, which will encourage users to change the way that they think about discovery across the web.

As per Microsoft:

There are 10 billion search queries a day, but we estimate half of them go unanswered. That’s because people are using search to do things it wasn’t originally designed to do. It’s great for finding a website, but for more complex questions or tasks too often it falls short.

With this in mind, Microsoft has integrated OpenAI’s expanded language model, which is more powerful than ChatGPT, and customized specifically for search, to facilitate all new kinds of Search experiences.

Those include:

  • New chat experience – The new process will enable you to ask follow-up questions, like you can in ChatGPT, to glean more specific responses to your queries. ‘The chat experience empowers you to refine your search until you get the complete answer you are looking for by asking for more details, clarity and ideas – with links available so you can immediately act on your decisions.’
Microsoft Bing 2.0
  • Content generation – Microsoft says that the new Bing can help you ‘write an email, create a 5-day itinerary for a dream vacation to Hawaii, with links to book your travel and accommodations, prep for a job interview or create a quiz for trivia night’. All sources will be cited in these outputs, ensuring you can cross-check for accuracy.

Microsoft’s also updated its Edge browser with its own AI capabilities.

“With the Edge Sidebar, you can ask for a summary of a lengthy financial report to get the key takeaways – and then use the chat function to ask for a comparison to a competing company’s financials and automatically put it in a table. You can also ask Edge to help you compose content, such as a LinkedIn post, by giving it a few prompts to get you started.”

Microsoft Bing 2.0

AI-generated LinkedIn posts sounds… interesting. I mean, it’s probably not going to be much worse than a lot of the current thought leadership-style posts on there, but a risk with AI-generated content is that as more people use more of these tools to generate posts and updates, everything is going to read increasingly the same. Because the models are based on existing examples, so if you tell it to create a good LinkedIn post or blog post, it’s literally giving you a generic variation of everything else that already exists.

So it’s all going to sound the same, and the amount of replication and algorithm gaming will rapidly increase as a result.

Though it should lead to some interesting job interviews either way.

The Bing 2.0 preview comes just a day after Google flagged its intentions to add adaptive AI elements into its search engine, as it also looks to tap into the popularity of ChatGPT. This far, Google has avoided jumping in, warning of potential errors and flaws in AI systems, but it’s now looking to take the leap, likely under pressure from Microsoft.

Because these systems will change discovery behaviors, and if Google wants to maintain ownership of the space, it will need to adapt. Which it is – though its initial example of its coming tools included an error in the AI-generated results. So not off to the best start.  

That could open the door for Bing – and for digital marketers, it’s worth taking note of how these new tools work, and considering how they could change the way that people interact with your content.

Because SEO is about to change, a lot, in ways that we don’t even fully understand.

The only way to understand is by checking the tools out for yourself.

The new Bing is available today in a limited preview on desktop – you can visit today to try sample queries and sign up for the waitlist.