Microsoft has revealed (opens in new tab) its new, and seemingly improved, Bing search engine, now backed by a powerful AI engine similar to ChatGPT or Google Bard. The tech giant has developed a propriety way of using OpenAI called The Prometheus Model, and it thinks this will be a game changer in terms of how users interact with their search results.
News of Bing’s relaunch excited me, as we desperately need more real competition in the search engine space. Google search has deteriorated significantly in quality over the years, as results have gotten overrun with ads that have degraded its reliability (not to mention the tech giant’s introduction of AI-generated content, which has further muddled the quality of results.)
If Microsoft wants its new Bing to succeed, it needs to take note of where Google has been going wrong, and circumvent those issues itself, for example while keeping ads from taking over search pages, while better honing both the number of results and their relevancy to users' search terms. And with AI-generated content comes the additional responsibilty of ensuring that information is properly sourced, and won't potentially cause harm to users.
From what we’ve seen so far in Bing previews, Microsoft has been at least consistent in addresing those latter issue, though whether it can improve the quality of search results remains to be seen. Regardless, bringing back Bing as an AI-powered search engine comes with risks, as not only are there moral and legal ramifications if the company isn’t careful about safety and plagiarism, but there’s also the risk of it being a far inferior version of Google search if Bing doesn’t have a properly beefed-up database and search algorithms.
With its new and smarter Bing, Microsoft has a unique opportunity to transform the way in which we use the internet, and to challenge Google's dominance in the search space, as long as it doesn't repeat its rival's missteps. Here’s to seeing what Microsoft has in store for us down the road.