- A new update to Windows 11, Microsoft’s latest PC operating system, will make it easy for people to start chatting with the new Bing chatbot that answers questions with web information.
- A link to start chatting with Bing will only appear to people who have been given access to the technology, which at times has provided incorrect or even offensive information.
- The change to the taskbar may lead to higher usage of the updated Bing.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at an event at the company’s campus in Redmond, Washington, on February 7, 2023.
Chona Kasinger | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Microsoft said Tuesday it will begin promoting its new Bing chatbot, which draws on startup OpenAI’s artificial intelligence capabilities, in an update to Windows 11.
Bing is not very popular, but Windows accounts for 9% of Microsoft’s revenue. It is the world’s leading operating system, with a share of approximately 82% as of 2021. The addition of a link to the updated Bing next to the familiar Start button is a big step forward for technology that has at times proven inaccurate or offensive . The gesture could help Microsoft challenge Google, which earlier this month allowed “trusted testers” to try its Bard chatbot that could compete with Bing’s new ability to answer questions with web information.
“It’s a new day in search,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at the event just three weeks ago where Microsoft unveiled the new Bing. “It’s a new paradigm in search. Rapid innovation is going to come.”
After entering a search in the search section of the taskbar at the bottom of the screen, a user will see search results and a new chat button. Clicking that button opens an Edge browser window and prompts the Bing chatbot to answer the person’s question, a Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC in an email.
Microsoft’s Bing chatbot in a Windows 11 update
The new Bing option is only becoming a regular fixture of Windows 11, which Microsoft launched in 2021. Support for Windows 10 ends in 2025, and many people haven’t upgraded yet. In January, about 69% of Windows PCs were still running Windows 10, and 18% were on Windows 11, according to estimates from StatCounter.
Not everyone will be able to see the chat button in Windows 11 right away. Microsoft has given over 1 million people access to the new Bing, a small number compared to the estimated 100 million people who used OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot in January.
Over time, the change to the taskbar may lead to higher usage of the updated Bing. Over 500 million people use the Windows search box every month, Microsoft product manager Panos Panay wrote in a blog post.
Bing has been available from the Windows taskbar for years, and Microsoft generates revenue when ads appear in search results after people type in specific searches. Heavy use of the updated Bing can provide financial upside. Microsoft will get $2 billion in additional revenue for every percentage point of revenue it takes in the search advertising market, Amy Hood, its chief financial officer, said on February 7.
Jefferies surveyed 900 consumers about the new Bing, and of the 127 who had tried it, 86% said they were impressed or very impressed, but only 17% said they would make Bing their new default search engine, according to a Monday note to clients . .
People with Windows 11 PCs on version 22H2 can request the new version with the more intelligent Bing and the other additions by opening the Windows Update section of the Settings app and clicking the “Check for updates” button, Panay wrote in the blog post.
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