For years, Microsoft Bing has struggled to gain a foothold among popular search engines as Google, its main competitor, maintains control of the market. But Microsoft’s recent deep dive into artificial intelligence (AI) is breathing new life into the internet search, with its AI-powered Bing Chat feature, now open for widespread use — and it just keeps getting better and better.
Often referred to as “the new Bing” or “Bing ChatGPT”, Bing Chat is very different from its more popular competitor. It uses GPT-4 and performs more like an AI-powered search engine in a conversational format, but that’s just the beginning.
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Unlike ChatGPT, Bing Chat boasts internet access, giving it the ability to provide more up-to-date responses. The free version of ChatGPT, on the other hand, is only trained on data up to the year 2021, so it cannot provide answers on current events.
GPT-4, which is OpenAI’s latest large language model, is available with a monthly subscription to ChatGPT Plus — or by using Bing Chat.
Also: Microsoft just supercharged ChatGPT with Bing’s AI-powered search
How to use Bing Chat
What you need: Getting started with the new Bing requires you to use Microsoft Edge and to log into a Microsoft account. When you access Microsoft Bing, you can choose whether to use the search or chat formats for your queries.
Open the Microsoft Edge web browser to access Bing Chat. If you don’t have Edge, you can download it for Windows, Mac, and Linux here. It’s also available on mobile for Android and iOS.
Once you’ve got Microsoft Edge open, go to Bing.com and you’ll have a couple of options to access Bing Chat. You can either click on Chat at the top of the screen, click on the Bing logo on the sidebar to the right of the screen, or, if available, on Try it or Learn more right below the search bar.
Bing Chat is always accessible from the Edge sidebar, no matter what website you’re on.
If you’re not logged in to your account, you’ll be prompted to do so when you try to access the Bing chatbot.
A Microsoft account could be an outlook.com or hotmail.com e-mail address and password, or the login information you use for Microsoft services, such as Office, OneDrive, or Xbox.
You can create a Microsoft account using any email address, Gmail and Yahoo! included.
From the search options below the search bar, click on Chat to access the chat tab for the new AI-powered Bing Chat.
If you accessed Bing Chat through the Microsoft Edge sidebar, proceed to step four.
Microsoft’s AI-powered Bing Chat is a bit different from ChatGPT, the most popular AI chatbot at the moment. While you ask prompts in a similar fashion, the format of the answers, the conversational style, and the Bing AI interface are all very different.
Here’s a breakdown to help you get to know the new Bing Chat window:
- Text area: The bottom of the screen has a text area where you can enter your prompts and questions for Bing Chat.
- New topic: When you click on New topic, Bing will delete the previous conversation and prompt you to move on to a new one.
- Sources: Bing performs as a conversational AI-powered search engine and, though it does not give you answers in a list format as a search engine would, it does gather most of its responses from the web. When you get an answer to a prompt, Bing also will list any sources in links below the message bubble.
- Suggested follow-up questions: After you get a response from Microsoft Bing, it will generate suggestions for different follow-up questions that you can use. For example, if you ask Bing “what color is the sky?”, it may suggest the follow-up questions “is the sky blue on other planets?”, or “how does pollution affect the color of the sky?”
- Search or chat: The top left of the screen gives you the option to toggle between traditional search results or the AI chatbot. Simply click on one or the other to switch.
- Conversation style: Bing Chat is programmed to provide a more human-like answer to a query than a search engine, so it offers three formats for responses — more creative, more balanced, and more precise. Each one of these formats is self-descriptive: choosing “more creative” will give you responses that are original and imaginative and it can also generate images; “more balanced” is similar in tone to ChatGPT, an informative and friendly chat with a human-like answer; and “more precise” will render concise and straightforward responses.
- Prompt counter: When Bing responds to a query within a conversation, you’ll see a number that helps you keep count of how many responses you’ve received. There’s a limit of 20 responses per conversation.
- Feedback button: When scanning the screen, you’ll quickly notice a Feedback button on the bottom-right corner of the chat window. This button lets users provide feedback to Microsoft Bing on suggestions or things they like or dislike, with the option to include a screenshot.
- Microsoft account: Your account information is accessible on the top right of the screen.
Is Bing Chat available now?
The new AI-powered Bing Chat was only available on a waitlist basis since its launch earlier this year, but Microsoft has now granted widespread access to all users with a valid account and Microsoft Edge. The new Bing Chat is on an Open Preview, so users can try it by going to the Edge web browser and logging into Bing with their Microsoft account.
Also: What is the new Bing? Here’s everything you need to know
Is Bing Chat available on Chrome?
Bing Chat is only available on Microsoft Edge at this time. There are certain third-party extensions to access the new Bing through Google Chrome, but none officially backed by Microsoft.
How can I access Bing Chat?
There are a few ways to access Bing Chat quickly:
- The Microsoft Edge browser has easy access to the new Bing Chat on the sidebar to the right-hand side of the window.
- Users can go to the Bing homepage by going to Bing.com to chat with the new Bing AI chatbot.
- There’s also the option of downloading the mobile app version of Bing on your personal device.
- You can also use Bing on mobile through the Edge browser.
How is Bing Chat different from a search engine?
The biggest difference between Bing Chat and other AI chatbots, compared to a search engine, is the conversational tone in the rendering of search results, thanks to the large language model operating behind the scenes. Intelligently formatting search results into an answer to a specific question makes it easier for anyone who is looking to find out something over the internet.
Also: ChatGPT vs. Bing Chat: Which AI chatbot should you use?
Beyond search capabilities that the standard Bing search engine already has, Bing Chat is a fully fledged AI chatbot and can do many of the things that similar tools can, such as ChatGPT. Both Bing and ChatGPT, for example, can generate text, such as an essay or a poem, write code, or ask complex questions and hold a conversation with follow-up questions.
Does Bing use ChatGPT?
Bing does not use ChatGPT, but it does use GPT-4 in the formulation of its answers. The new Bing is the only way to use GPT-4 for free at this time and Microsoft claims the integration with the latest language model makes Bing more powerful and accurate than ChatGPT.
Also: Want to experience GPT-4? Just use Bing Chat
Many users prefer one or the other. In my experience, I’ve noticed Bing Chat can sometimes be a bit slow to respond and can miss some prompts, but that’s typically remedied by asking a follow-up question such as, “Did you search for that?”. However, I also believe the new version of Bing offers users more control over experience and a more intuitive UI.
The GPT 3.5 version of OpenAI’s language model powers ChatGPT. When GPT-4 becomes widely available through an updated version of ChatGPT, it will be through OpenAI’s subscription service, ChatGPT Plus, which costs $20 a month.
Is there a Bing image creator?
Microsoft recently debuted Bing Image Creator as part of its generative AI tools. It’s accessible through Bing Chat, when it is used on the Creative conversation style, or on its own by going to Bing.com/Create.
Microsoft is using DALL-E, an artificially intelligent image generator from OpenAI. This is available as a tool for Microsoft Edge within Bing, as users are able to give Bing a prompt to create images within an existing chat, as opposed to going to a separate website.
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Does Bing Chat give wrong answers?
Just like ChatGPT and other large language models, the new AI-powered Bing Chat is prone to giving out misinformation. Most of the output that new Bing offers as answers are drawn from online sources, and we know we can’t believe everything we read on the internet. Similarly, when you use the new Bing in chat mode, it can generate nonsensical answers that are unrelated to the original question.
Is Bing Chat free?
The new Bing is not only completely free, it’s also the best way to preview GPT-4 for free right now. You can use the Bing AI chatbot to ask questions, get help with a problem, or seek inspiration, but you are limited to 15 questions per interaction and 150 conversations a day.
Also: The best AI chatbots: ChatGPT and other fun alternatives to try
Are my conversations with Bing Chat saved?
Microsoft defaults to clearing your conversations when you click the New Topic button, so your conversations aren’t saved beyond the duration of each chat. However, search history is saved in your account, depending on your settings, so previous searches may be saved.
Is there a waitlist for the new Bing?
Microsoft just announced that the new, AI-powered Bing is in Open Preview, so any user that signs in to their Microsoft account using Edge is granted access immediately. The waitlist for early access of this new version of Bing is open for everyone.
Can you use the new Bing on mobile?
If you have the Edge browser on your mobile device, you can use the new AI-powered Bing search in chat mode, much like you would on your computer. There’s also the option of skipping the Edge browser and downloading the Microsoft Bing app from your device’s app store. This app provides a straight line to the Bing AI chatbot, with the benefit of not having to access a website when you want to use it.
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Both the Microsoft Bing app and the Edge browser support voice dictation on mobile, so you can ask your questions without even having to type them in.