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Bing and Edge, Microsoft’s tag team for browsing the web, is getting some serious upgrades, thanks to technology garnered from Microsoft’s investment into OpenAI. This new and improved search experience promises to bring content discovery to new heights.

For most people that have grown up using technology, or have spend all their adult life using it, browsing the internet feels like second nature. However, it is also true that most of us would be completely lost if it weren’t search engines. The internet is a big place – massive, in fact. According to the most reliable estimates, the entire internet contains over 5 billion gigabytes of data (that’s over 5 million terabytes). Of that data, only about 0.004% has been indexed by search engines.

Needless to say, we need search engines in order to explore the web. This is precisely why Microsoft began working on a new, AI-powered Bing search engine and Edge browser.


AI-Powered Search Engines.

The internet has so much data, that it almost seems feasible that it could answer any question one has – and this appears to be how a lot of people see it nowadays. This is indicated by the fact that a growing number of daily search queries involve complex questions – people are literally asking their web browser questions. However, this was never how search engines were designed to work. At their core, a search engine is simply a directory for webpages. Here is how it works:

  1. Crawling – In order for search engines to work as they are intended, they need to discover content on the web. This is known as crawling. Bots visit pages, follow links, and downloading content.
  1. Indexing – Once webpages have been discovered, they need to be indexed. Webpages are organised according to a number of different criteria that determines where it ranks on the index. These criteria include:
  • Keywords
  • Topic
  • ‘Freshness’ (i.e. when it was last updated)
  • User engagement
  1. Queries & Results – A search engine takes queries from a user, and matches the query (based on the criteria mentioned above) to the most relevant webpage – these are the result you get when you search something.

For decades, this has proven to be a highly efficient means of organising the wealth of information and content that is on the internet. However, as we have become increasingly reliant on the internet, the ways in which we use it is changing.

An AI Co-Pilot for Browsing the Web

The current search engine model favours keywords. In other words, to get the most relevant results, you need to know what keywords to use – this is a skill that takes time to develop. But as technology grows more and more sophisticated, it makes sense that the way we use it should become more inline with natural human behaviour, such as having a conversation and asking questions.

This is precisely how the new AI-powered Bing is designed to work. Microsoft have described it as co-pilot for exploring the internet – a unification of search, browsing and chat designed to provide a more naturalistic means of discovering information online. Some examples of how the new Bing improves upon the internet search experience include:

  • Answers, not Results – Rather than having to trawl through webpages that your search query brought up, in order to find the information you need, the new Bing can summarise information from multiple sources to give you a tailored answer to your question.
  • Interactive Chat – The new Bing will also be able to help users with more complex search queries, thanks to an AI-powered chat experience that will help users refine their query until they find what they are looking for.
  • Inspiration – The new Bing also has the capabilities to curate multiple diverse (but still relevant to your query) results, with sources and links. Microsoft suggests people can use this type of search to find inspiration on a range of topics – both business-related and personal.

How was the New Bing Experience Created?

Suffice to say, the new Bing experience seems very promising, but how has it come about? A big part of it is down to Microsoft’s $1 billion investment into OpenAI, the non-profit AI research project. But it is also a culmination of Microsoft’s own developments too:

  • OpenAI – Microsoft have stated that the new Bing utilizes a next-generation large language model that is more sophisticated than ChatGPT, and tailored for web searches.
  • Microsoft Prometheus – Microsoft have also developed a model for leveraging this next-gen OpenAI technology. Prometheus and OpenAI together promises to render the most refined results possible.
  • Bing’s Ranking Engine – Microsoft have worked to pair their new AI models with their existing Bing search ranking engine to make even the most basic search queries much more relevant.