New versions of Microsoft’s search engine and Internet browser will use artificial intelligence (AI) to provide users with instant written answers, the company has announced.
Software developed by ChatGPT creators OpenAI now enables Bing and Edge to footnote queries and summarize detailed information from multiple sources.
Users can try the technology now ahead of a full rollout in the “coming weeks”.
The announcement comes just one day after Google unveiled its own AI-powered search engine chatbot, called Bard.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the changes were necessary because search engines hadn’t progressed in 20 years and half of Bing searches currently don’t answer user questions.
“I think this technology will revolutionize virtually every software category,” he told a news conference at the company’s headquarters in Seattle.
“The race starts today and we are going fast and fast. The most important thing is that we want to enjoy innovating in search again, because it’s about time.
“It’s a new day in search, it’s a new paradigm for search, rapid innovation is coming.”
AI-generated responses now appear on the right side of the Bing interface, with the traditional web page links and images on the left.
The company is also introducing a “Chat” feature in Bing, similar to ChatGPT, the parent company in which Microsoft has invested billions of dollars.
In the Edge browser, next-generation AI technology can be used to create custom meal plans, itineraries, and music trivia quizzes upon user request.
It can also instantly summarize academic articles and company reports, compare against others, and rewrite code in different languages.
The competition to innovate using AI was evident during the press conference as Microsoft leaders criticized the failure of other search engines to innovate.
Yusuf Mehdi, the chief marketing officer, said: “We need to adapt to search, not the other way around.
“Search has remained the same since the last major inflection. The user experience is the same as 20 years ago.”
Google is hosting its own launch event for Bard on Wednesday, which it unveiled Monday, minutes before Microsoft announced today’s press conference.
Sundar Pichai, the CEO, said AI will be integrated “soon” into the company’s search engine to provide written answers to queries, in addition to links to relevant web pages, images and videos.
He added that the tool would allow Google to answer questions in a more intelligent way beyond just providing basic factual information.
Mr Pichai insisted the bot would be both “daring and responsible” but did not specify how the company would avoid producing harmful or abusive content.
Bard will use the company’s existing Lamda software, which an engineer last year described as “sentient” and the intellectual equivalent of a human child.
Blake Lemoine, 41, was fired by the company after making the allegations, which it described as “completely baseless”.