What you need to know
- Microsoft announced several new features for Bing earlier this month, including knowledge cards, improved formatting, and sharing capabilities.
- The improvements should make Bing more engaging and allow the chatbot to communicate more information.
- Bing Chat recently entered open preview, meaning anyone can sign up for it without having to add their name to a wait list.
The new Bing Chat powered by ChatGPT launched 100 days ago. The chatbot has seen several updates since then, including some significant changes, but the tool just got another boost. Bing Chat now supports visual answers, better formatting, and the option to share conversations. Microsoft announced these features for Bing earlier this month, but they are all live today.
As a quick reminder before we dive into what's new, Bing Chat is now in open preview, meaning you don't need to add your name to a wait list to try it out.
Searching through Bing Chat will now be a more visual experience. Charts, graphs, and improved formatting should create a more engaging way to get answers to questions. Microsoft highlighted that humans process visual information roughly 60,000 times faster than text. In the example above, someone asks Bing if a certain breed of cactus grows flowers. Rather than simply answering "yes," Bing shows the flowers plus some text answering the question in a written format.
Microsoft is also working on support for uploading images to Bing Chat to search the web, though that functionality isn't here yet.
Separate from the visual improvements to Bing Chat, Microsoft is also rolling out support for Chat History. The functionality has been making its way to users gradually over the last few weeks, but it is worth highlighting today.
Once the feature makes its way to you, it will save your conversations, allowing you to recall them after the fact. This makes it much easier to keep track of Bing's answers and the threads that you've had with the tool.
Our Managing Editor Richard Devine shared his excitement for chat history support in Bing Chat when it appeared for him last week. The good news for anyone that feels the same way about the feature is that it should be live for everyone starting today.
Microsoft has also made it easier to continue a conversation with Bing Chat. Now, when you click a link from a chat result when using Edge, the conversation will bump over to the Sidebar. This allows you to continue to chat with Bing while being able to browse the web.
Plug-ins are also on the way and will expand Bing Chat's capabilities and help fill some of the tool's biggest gaps. For example, Bing Chat and other GPT-powered AI tools struggle with complex math problems. The Wolfram|Alpha plug-in should close that gap and allow Bing Chat to help with a variety of calculations.
OpenTable and Wolfram|Alpha will be the first plugins to work with Bing Chat.
Many of the features that shipped today and that are on the way are similar to options in ChatGPT. That fact led our Richard Devine to ask, "why am I wasting $20 a month on ChatGPT Plus when Bing Chat is free?" ChatGPT and Bing Chat are both powerful tools that can coexist, but their features overlap heavily in some areas. It will be interesting to see how everyday users lean when it comes to their AI chatbot of choice.
In addition to these updates to Bing Chat, Microsoft expanded SwiftKey's AI features, added the ability to pin Bing Chat to your home screen on Android and iOS, and released a major update to the Edge mobile apps.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at email@example.com.