AI is about to face its biggest challenge yet: trying to make Bing not suck

Reed Albergotti, writing about Microsoft’s ambitions with OpenAI, ChatGPT, and Bing, on the recently launched publication from Ben Smith and Justin Smith, Semaphor

Microsoft’s second-place search engine Bing is poised to incorporate a faster and richer version of ChatGPT, known as GPT-4, into its product in the coming weeks, marking rapid progress in the booming field of generative AI and a long-awaited challenge to Google’s dominance of search.

Bing sucks. Everyone knows it. That’s why clips like this one are very hard to watch without feeling bad for everyone involved.

Google search sucks too, but it is the best around. Bing is on another level of bad: just search for your name and be amazed at what you find. At this point, opening your window and shouting your question out in the street would probably get you better results than searching on Bing, so of course this OpenAI thing will be a huge leap forward for Microsoft’s search engine. Maybe it would eventually end the long reign of mediocrity at Bing, and maybe — just maybe — it would get my website back on their index.

Now that OpenAI has released ChatGPT to the public, the technology will likely improve on a faster curve. And having a mobile app, instead of just a web interface, will bring an even broader user base into the service, making the curve steeper.

Not sure if Albergotti still talks about a Bing app here or a dedicated mobile app for ChatGPT, but the biggest advantage of Bing over the ChatGPT web app would be its ability to be set as the default search engine on web browsers, and yes, including Google Chrome.

If this GPT-4-powered new search engine is drastically better than Bing (won’t be hard to achieve), and drastically better than Google (slightly harder I suppose), people will eventually use this new Bing for their online searches, and, with the help of little ads and popups asking you to change your default search engine, it may be a success very quickly. If the search results are only just a little better than Google’s, or way better but only at a few thing, I don’t think most people will change their twenty-year-old habits right away, and this transition will take time; which shall give time for Google to get its shit together, and for other companies to compete.

The most interesting part about this news is the timeline for this new Bing search. The article mentions “in the coming weeks.” Even if it will probably only be available in English at first, “weeks” is not what I would have expected the first time I heard about this. Number me as very, very curious about all this.