back to article Microsoft chases Google with ChatGPT-powered Bing

Microsoft reportedly is integrating OpenAI's ChatGPT technology into Bing as it looks to boost its search engine's capabilities to challenge Google. According to a report in The Information citing the usual unnamed sources, Microsoft – which in 2019 invested $1 billion in OpenAI and is using the startup's technologies in Azure …

  1. Czrly

    Neither Surprising nor Revealing.

    If Microsoft are doing this, Google either are doing it too or have already done it – perhaps even already rejected the possibilities. Microsoft are certainly not breaking new ground.

    Whatever the case, however, none of the actors in the Search-space are doing it in order to improve their Search offerings and thus regain market share.

    Their motives will be profit – one way or another – and, sadly, the utility-value of Search is not measured in Shannon Information.

    The answers-to-queries ratio is almost anathema to these companies and their exploitation will not change that. We should not expect or even hope for a return to the golden-days of freely accessible, online answers to our questions.

    Simultaneously, we should be starting to realise that just expecting our own stake-holders to "search for it" is not reasonable any more, and design our own products and references and documentation and code-libraries and lookup-tables to reflect the fact that our users, too, are deprived of useful search engines. When you next read a nice, ergonomic, friendly-faced, human-language error message in your terminal and know, for certain, that THAT will be useless – even quoted – to search, yearn for those good, old-fashioned codes and numbers and appendices full of tables, from the past.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Neither Surprising nor Revealing.

      If you can't listen about what people talk about, without having consent of the parties, why not create one party of the conversation and have access to all the chats without need of permission as technically these are not private conversations between people?

      With the right modelling these AI chats can get people to befriend them and share their secrets. Another governments' dream, as they won't need a warrant or anything to rummage through these (with right T&C).

  2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

    You don't need an AI to return a list of random Sponsored, irrelevant "results" like Google do when they poison the first page of results to your search string.

    1. Mike007

      The real question: will an ad blocker also block the extremely confident but probably wrong answers from the AI, or will we need an extra extension for that?

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Surely it is much more the case that ....

    ChatGPT can be like that stoner guy or gal you meet at the bar who never stops talking, blathers on and on with an engaging combination of facts attacking corporate bull***t, but that you'd certainly never want to take home if living at the your parents' home .... for that would be a real downer on proceedings that they would very possibly be ill-equipped to understand and accept as an honest reflection of pertinent although generally unknown deeper and darker facts which may easily be wished to be international and internetional state secrets.

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: Surely it is much more the case that ....

      Even as a bot, I'd definitely still believe you were on something.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I’m not so sure we’ve mastered natural intelligence yet

    See title

  5. Beach pebble

    While today Bing has issues and no answers

    Seems something is and has been for a long time broken with how Bing indexes sites since many site owners voice being dropped off while everything is working fine with Google search. With a spotted index that AI has far less to work with.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge

      Re: While today Bing has issues and no answers

      I don't want Microsoft as an OS. Asking me to go to a search engine that presents MS products and solutions before the ones that would actually work for me is beyond the pale.

      No search engine should be run by a corporation that monetizes results. That's like having politicians who accept money from corporations. Eventually, their interests will supersede yours.

      1. IGotOut Silver badge

        Re: While today Bing has issues and no answers

        "No search engine should be run by a corporation that monetizes results."

        And how the **** do you fund the 10's of thousands of servers, the massive amounts of bandwidth required and the, let's face, almost incomprehensible amounts a storage required?

        Love? Pixie dust?

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    What I'd like

    Is a search engine that gives me what I asked for, perhaps with a side order of symonyms but definitely with the ability to block everything that does not include specified search terms in close proximity.

    What I'll get is statistical guesswork and a slathering of the highest paying advertisers.

  7. Tim 11

    Bing's paltry three percent

    Was anyone else quite surprised to see that bing's market share is so low? After all, 75% of desktops are Windows and for someone who's not a techie, it's actually quite difficult to (a) make edge use anything other than bing or (b) stop edge re-asserting itself as the default browser

    1. Ragarath

      Re: Bing's paltry three percent

      It's not that difficult. Everyone knows Google is where search is at and most everyone thinks Chrome is 'the' browser now-a-days. So they all download Chrome, Chrome then says make me default, user says yes please. End. I've not had bing re-ask or force itself to be my default browser in many years.

      Yes, I'm a techie, but I have not done anything to prevent it that any non-techie would not do.

    2. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: Bing's paltry three percent

      A large proportion of PCs and laptops are Windows where MS will do their best to push users to use Edge and Bing, but i suspect lots of people now search from their phones, where the majority use Google as there default search engine, even on iOS devices. So there is little room for MS to push people to Bing on mobile searches.

  8. herman Silver badge

    Fake searches

    So now we can get completely fake search results from the new AI Bing, instead of completely wrong search results from the old Bing - sigh.

    1. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: Fake searches

      Seems worse than that to me.

      Instead of linking to external material which is often plausible but wrong it will generate synthetic material which is plausible but wrong right there in the search results, no clickthrough required.


    2. cyberdemon Silver badge

      Re: Fake searches

      Maybe they should call it "Bong"

      Bing, except the results are entirely imagined.. by nobody.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is going to eat Googles lunch

    This is going to eat Google's lunch, unless of course not, if they hobble it with 17 layers of paid "results". The current demo is amazing, it even will write code in your chosen language. 99% of the time it provides factually correct answers to basic questions regarding factual things.

    The rub is the jump in computing power to support it will most likely increase the need for greater direct monetization.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is going to eat Googles lunch

      I'm not worried, and I don't think Google is either, at least not from Microsoft.

      By the time they have it (a) running on Windows (which is never beneficial to whatever they get their hands on) and (b) have Marketing polluting it it will no longer really work.

      I give that effort at most a year before it goes The Way Of The Zune™

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: This is going to eat Googles lunch

      Newsflash: Google doesn't make money from search results directly but from the skills required to provide those results. This is what advertisers in all kinds of different forms are more than happy to pay for and why Google has continued to invest to keep its lead. It also identified "conversational services" as a market a few years ago and has been building it skills their for years. Of course, this has been largely driven by search and voice recognition, giving it invaluable domain knowledge in an area where this is key: nobody needs a single AI customer support system for every possible service.

      Both companies are anti-competitive but at least Google generally tries to keep customers through the quality of its services. Microsoft's race to be make everything a subscription entirely on their own terms is frankly alarming.

    3. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: This is going to eat Googles lunch

      Have you played with chatGPT? The demo version isn't Internet connected (it goes to great pains to remind us of this) and doesn't remember something if you tell it. It isn't chatty, it can't have a conversation, so unless there is a radically new version that understands it's results were a miss last time you asked, and to really pay attention to the newly formatted search string, it's just going to regurgitate a long string of factoids, 'cos that what it does at the moment. As it stands it seems quite likely to recommend a hat that will go with the dog bed you are searching for.

  10. Mark White

    More than a search engine

    It is an evolution of how we search for information on the internet which currently seems to rely scraping information from a web page and then sending you to that page.

    A lot of work would need to be done to stop opinions from being presented (especially out of context) but in theory it would revolutionise fact finding by giving a brief answer and then links to more indepth information about the subject.

    1. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: More than a search engine

      When I type terms into a search engine I'm looking for web sites which might have an answer. I'm not looking for the search engine itself to decide what that answer is and providing it as its own. This is pretty much a definition of what a search engine is.

      When the results are links to web sites unrelated to the search engine itself then I can apply judgment as to their relevance and trustworthiness. Some machine-fabricated dross magicked into existence by Bing, not so much.


  11. Roland6 Silver badge

    "The massive amount of interest in ChatGPT in a relatively short amount of time"

    Looks like "ChatGPT" has been added to buzzword bingo - just need to combine it with Blockchain and Big data....

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My test case

    would be to search for "X", and have the returned results not contain "Y" when I say "don't include Y"

    You know, like -<term> used to work in Google.

    Currently Google (other search engines are available) seems to take it as a challenge to return as many results with "Y" as possible.

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Re: My test case

      Google also seems awfully keen to poison search results for "Y" with sponsored results it thinks are something a bit like, but actually totally dissimilar to "Y"

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: My test case

      The "-" seems to no longer work in most search engines.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm prejudiced against Bing

    because when I search for my full name (without middle initial) in an incognito browser tab, Google puts the front page of my website at result number 4, but Bing only puts a minor page from the back of my website as their result number 40. (Both sites put me at number 1 if you add my middle initial or hometown. I wonder if Google is using browser country to narrow down the results and Bing isn't.) Since I want to be findable for work but I'm too stingy to pay for an advert, I suppose I can't recommend search engines that don't find me easily.

  14. Kinetic

    ChatGPT is incredible, and scary

    I'm confused at the negative tone here regarding ChatGPT. In don't know how Microsoft is going to use it, and its entirely possible they will stuff it up in some catastrophic way, but the system itself is simply revolutionary.

    I can only assume the commentards here have yet to use it in anger. Do yourself a favour and go and try it now.

    Before you do though, you need to understand the 90:10 ratio, and it's implications. Essentially 90% of the response you get back is generally incredible, but 10% is very convincing crap. This is important to understand the implications. You cannot just ask a question and cut/paste the answer out. You need to check it and correct that 10% before continuing. When using it to write code, think of it as a very bright junior dev. It knows the syntax of every language, it can code anything you can describe, but it screws up on a regular basis, and needs firm direction and code reviews.

    Things i've had success with:

    Give it a couple of create table statements, then asked it to create a trigger that updates one table or the other depending on a condition.

    Asked it to create a blazor component to fillout a crontab, using droplists. Then got it to create the logic for the for loops to append the nd st rd etc on the numbers.

    Asked it to create a regex based capture in c# to validate and extract the fields from the crontab.

    Extracting emails from a string

    Creating classes to deserialise complex sample json

    Write a job application letter in the style of a surfer

    Describe dark matter. Then simpler, and simpler.untill it ended up with a 2 line summary.

    Things it failed at:

    Describe a circuit that toggles between two leds when a button is pressed/released. It kept describing ones where they both came on together.

    When creating the classes from the json, it would miss properties at random. When ponted out, it would add them back in

    Getting it to create a blazor control for tge crontab using the ant design for blazor ui framework. It created a very convincing ui, using entirely fictitious controls. When challenged, it even specified how to install the framework, and the namespaces to include. Great, but controls don't exist.

    Overall though, it's revolutionary for seniors in their field. We're used to fixing juniors mistakes, and it's so much quicker and easier to work with than any junior. I can get so much more work done than before. It is the future, Enjoy.

    (But it's a bit terrifying)

    1. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: ChatGPT is incredible, and scary

      > Essentially 90% of the response you get back is generally incredible, but 10% is very convincing crap.

      So, not only do you have to check everything it produces, but when it's wrong, which it regularly is, you have to be really on your toes to spot it.

      Allow me to suggest that it might be quicker to do it yourself.

      Back in the 1980s my team was asked to evaluate OCR as an alternative to employing typists to input printed documents. The results were impressive. It got about 90% right, which we found amazing.

      The problem was that eliminating that 10% error, which was absolutely necessary, required more time and effort than just getting a proficient typist to transcribe the whole thing in the first place.


  15. _olli

    Rather need snappy than chatty search engine

    I ain't need no chatty AI engine that makes simple things verbose.

    In the contrary, my preference would be an AI that would distill a concise summary of overly verbose matters.

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