Do you think Google could ever encounter competition? In 2009 Microsoft definitely tried to compete with their newly revised search engine “Bing”. Microsoft has tried before with search engines like MSN Search, Windows Live Search, and Live Search. The difference between Bing and these older search engines was that it had search suggestions as you wrote text. Another addition they made in later years was “Tiger”, an index-serving technology that would help search more quickly and for more relative information. Everything was looking good for this new search engine– but was it successful?
Bing received a lot of negative criticism. If you look up anything Bing related, it's mostly going to be about how no one uses or likes it. Why? Even though it had searching capability upgrades it still wasn’t good enough. Many say that the algorithm was still not accurate enough. Others disliked that Microsoft forced Bing upon us as the default search engine and made it difficult to switch back to our preferred search engines. Others just simply did not like Bing because it wasn’t Google, similarly to how some people prefer Apple phones over Android just because of the brand name.
People started disliking Bing without even knowing why. It became a trend. Kind of like how people don’t like Nickelback without any real reason… There’s some pretty good videos about this topic, highly recommended.
Bleak or Bright Future?
So, why is Bing becoming a popular topic 14 years later? It has to do with some new tech breakthroughs in AI, specifically with a natural language chatbot called ChatGPT. If you’re immersed in the tech world, you’ve probably heard of it. But for those of us who are unaware of what ChatGPT is and what it is capable of, it is an AI that can understand natural language and can answer almost anything in a very human-like natural way. In the software world, you can use it to ask “what is wrong with this code?”
You can copy and paste something into ChatGPT’s text box, ask “how do I code such and such” and it will give you clear directions with syntax on how to write your code, consider any functionality you want to add, and much much more. You can even ask it to give you a different answer from the one it gave you. These are only some of the surface level actions it can do.
So that is all great and wonderful but what does ChatGPT have to do with Bing? Microsoft will be integrating ChatGPT into their search engine this March, 2023 - right around the time this article is being written.
What does that mean for Bing?
You will soon be able to use Bing’s architecture to chat with ChatGPT and get very precise answers and human-like explanations. Microsoft showed off what this will look like in several demonstrations.
ChatGPT in Action
- • One demonstration they gave asked for a 5 day itinerary for a trip to Mexico. ChatGPT responded with a detailed 5 day vacation. They then asked “where can we go shopping” and “where is the nightlife”, and again it gave a very good summary of where to visit to go shopping and where the nightlife is during this hypothetical trip to Mexico.
- • Another example is when they asked if a certain Ikea loveseat was going to fit into the back of a 2019 Honda Odyssey with the seats folded down. Bing with ChatGPT found the dimensions of the love seat, and the volume inside of the car WITH the seats down, and put together that yes it would fit if the second and third row were down.
This is just a small demonstration of the speed and quality of the search engine. You can try it out for yourself at openai.com and decide for yourself. Will this give Bing the edge to compete with Google? This is definitely shaking up the tech world, but only time and user experiences will tell if this is going to be the internet's next favorite search engine.