The Gist

  • The waitlist is gone. Microsoft Bing is now available to everyone.
  • Microsoft Bing is enhanced. New features include improved visual search and multi-session productivity.
  • Bing platform capabilities. Third-party developers can now build on top of Bing.

Microsoft Bing, the AI-powered search engine released earlier this year in a limited preview, is now available to everyone, with several new enhancements — and without a waitlist.

“Today I’m thrilled to share we are moving to the next generation of AI-powered Bing and Edge to transform the largest category of software in the world — search — by greatly expanding the vision and capabilities we think of as Your Copilot for the Web,” Yusuf Mehdi, corporate VP and consumer CMO at Microsoft, said in a post announcing the news yesterday.

Rather than text-only search, Bing now offers a more “visual” experience allowing users to search by image — with multimodal support coming soon. And instead of single-use chat and search sessions, users can also engage in multi-session productivity experiences with chat history and persistent chats within Edge. Microsoft is also opening up platform capabilities to third-party developers.

Related Article: Is Microsoft's AI-Driven Bing Really Better Than ChatGPT?

Microsoft Bing Unveils Enhanced AI-Powered Search Features

What exactly is included the Bing release?

More Visual Search Features

To help users find what they are searching for, faster, Microsoft Bing is debuting what Mehdi referred to as “richer, more visual answers, including charts and graphs and updated formatting of answers.” Further, Image Creator has been expanded to more than 100 languages in Bing. And coming soon — enhanced multi-modal capabilities will be available.

A More Productive Search

In response to what users said they really want from a search engine, Bing will allow users to maintain their chat history and access it easily, so customers can go back to prior chats and pick up where they left off. Coming soon, Microsoft will also offer improved export and share functionalities and summarization capabilities for long documents in Edge.

Further, Edge actions will be available in the coming weeks.

“People will soon be able to lean on AI to complete even more tasks with fewer steps,” Mehdi said. “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.”

Third-Party Plug-Ins for Bing

Microsoft Bing is transitioning from a product to a platform, with plans to incorporate third-party plug-ins into the Bing chat experience. This move will enable developers to build on top of Bing and offer additional functionality to users.

Learning Opportunities

“For example, if you’re researching the latest restaurant for dinner in Bing chat, it will leverage OpenTable to help you find and book a reservation,” Mehdi said.

Related Article: Notable Figures Call for Microsoft to Take Action on Bing's AI ChatGPT

Bing Search Engine Gains Over 100 Million Users, Despite Hiccups

In an attempt to address what they view as the failure of conventional search engines to provide satisfactory answers to billions of queries, Microsoft originally unveiled its new AI-powered Bing search engine and Edge browser utilizing Open AI's GPT-4 language models and an extensive search index on Feb. 7, just one day prior to Google's own launch of its rival AI-powered product Bard.

A week earlier, Microsoft announced it would become OpenAI’s exclusive cloud provider across research, products and API services as part of a multi-year, multi-billion extended partnership, with Microsoft reportedly investing around $10 billion in OpenAI.

According to Microsoft, just 90 days after the Bing/Edge launch, customers engaged in more than half a billion chats and created more than 200 million images with Bing Image Creator. In all, since its initial launch, Microsoft reports Bing now has more than 100 million daily active users.

But the road to AI search dominance hasn’t been without its potholes. Microsoft laid off 10,000 workers in early January and following Bing’s release, reports of the chatbot behaving “unhinged” — and even attempting to convince one man to leave his wife — flooded the Internet.

And Microsoft's search game still trails the Search Giant, Google.

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