We tried the AI-powered version of Microsoft Bing. Its huge, user-friendly search box and detailed responses make it so much better than Google.
Microsoft announced the integration of an AI language tool in its search engine, Bing.
The news came amid an AI battle between Microsoft and Google.
Insider gave Bing a try and its personalized answers won us over.
Microsoft has unveiled an AI-powered version of its Bing search engine, intensifying its rivalry with Google, which on Monday announced its own AI chatbot, Bard.
"The race starts today," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said on Tuesday at a launch event.
Google has dominated search for the past two decades. It accounts for about 93% of the global search-engine market, while Bing accounts for about 3%, according to Statcounter, a web analytics service.
But if Microsoft's multibillion-dollar bet on OpenAI pays off, the new Bing search engine could knock Google from its perch.
There's a waitlist to access Bing's new feature, but Microsoft says you can "get ahead in the line" if you make Microsoft your default web browser and download the Bing app on your phone.
Insider gave Bing a try. Here were our first impressions.
Huge search box
We were impressed straight away by the large search box, which included a prompt to "ask me anything."
While Google offers a one-line search box, and sometimes you might be unsure whether you've made any typos or repeated a word, Bing allows you to see all 1,000 characters of your request.
Its layout is minimalist and feels more accessible than Google's interface.
We used one of the three suggested questions it offered: "I am planning a trip for our anniversary in September. What are some places we can go that are within a 3-hour flight from London Heathrow?"
The AI congratulated us on the anniversary and said: "There are many places you can go that are within a 3-hour flight from London Heathrow. Here are some suggestions based on your preferences and the best destinations in Europe in September."
It suggested going to Spain, France, or Italy and gave reasons we might want to go to those places, such as beaches, mountains, or art and history.
Bye, boring blank homepage
Another feature that surpasses Google is the search engine's homepage background, which offers a default visual without the user having to customize it.
On Wednesday, the default backdrop was a panorama of mountains with a pinkish sky.
If you use Google and want a different background, you'd need to change the setting yourself.
Button for AI tools
To help users make the most of its newly integrated AI skill set, Bing features a button in the upper-right corner that lists a selection of writing tools.
Those allow users to generate text based on tone. There are five options, including professional, casual, and enthusiastic. You can also specify the length and format of the text to be generated.
Bing's answer to our question, while generic, felt more personalized than Google's response when we asked it the same question.
The first link Google suggested was "10 Short Flights from the UK to Somewhere Hot." When we clicked, it took us to a blog post about exactly that — but it didn't feel as helpful as Bing.
Bing gave us only three destinations, which didn't require us to do a lot of sifting through the options.
Microsoft's search engine's response was tailored and detailed. It did, however, play it safe by suggesting destinations based on our preferences. It could have added a destination we weren't familiar with or might not have thought about.
Bing's response appeared to back up its suggestions by hyperlinking to websites it got the information from.
Overall, Bing's tailored search suggestions and its huge, user-friendly search box won us over. We think it'll prove difficult for Google to compete against those points unless it implements changes to its one-line search bar.
February 9, 2023: This story has been updated with an "opinion" category tag to make it clear that it reflects the personal opinions of two Insider reporters.
Correction: February 9, 2023 — An earlier version of this story mischaracterized the relationship between Microsoft and OpenAI. Microsoft is an OpenAI investor, not a competitor.
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