Microsoft has removed the waitlist requirement for its improved AI-powered Bing browser and search engine and has added new chat and image generation features.
The new version of Bing had previously only been available to users who had signed up to a waitlist and been accepted, now anyone with a Microsoft account can access the platform.
The company has said that it is still in an “Open preview” mode, rather than being available in a completely finished state.
Microsoft has opened up Bing AI to developers and will let external brands build third-party plug-ins. First among these are an OpenTable integration that will let users find and make a reservation at a restaurant. Another integration with computational answer firm Wolfram|Alpha will let users create powerful visualizations and get answers to complex science, math and human-curated data-based questions directly from Bing chat.
First among the big changes to the software is a move from text-only search and chat to a more visual system with rich image and video answers. This will include charts and graphs, as well as updated formatting of answers. Expect SEO firms to already be looking into optimising content to appear in the search results.
Microsoft has also added its Bing Image Creator generative AI tool into the Bing search engine and has brought visual search — the ability to upload an image and use that to prompt a search — into the AI-powered Bing.
The company that brought us all Windows has also changed Bing to make sure users’ chat history will remain in the browser. It has also moved the Bing chat to the sidebar in the Edge browser. Plus, users will be able to share and export chat history.
Improved summaries of documents and websites will be coming soon to the Edge browser. The AI will be able to parse and present the most salient points from PDFs and longer-form websites — which will be a boon for journalists writing stories based on lengthy press releases. Plus, Microsoft said that it is letting the AI complete more tasks on its own, “for example, if you want to watch a particular movie, actions in Edge will find and show you options in chat in the sidebar and then play the movie you want from where it’s available.”
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