Microsoft Embeds Bing Generative AI Search In New Windows 11 Taskbar
Microsoft has upgraded Windows 11 and extended the generative AI-powered Bing search to its taskbar. The software giant has been rapidly widening access to the new Bing’s capabilities, including on mobile apps and Skype, but has now made it a centerpiece in the across-the-board improvements to its operating system, along with more voice control and a preview of the iPhone interaction service Phone Link for iOS.
Windows Bing AI
Windows 11’s taskbar search box is one of the most widely used Windows features. That makes it a prime spot for the new Bing search engine as it seeks to leverage generative AI to claw some of Google’s market share. As with the other outlets, Microsoft used a version of OpenAI’s large language model (LLM) called Prometheus. Bing’s search response isn’t just a list of links, but complete and detailed responses to queries in a conversational format that evolves based on what the user writes. Unlike ChatGPT, Bing’s responses are based on current information, and it still employs links to cite its answers. Microsoft claims the LLM approach improves the relevance of the links Bing fetches for users.
“It is a new era in Search, Chat and Creation and with the new Bing and Edge you now have your own copilot for the web. Today, we take the next major step forward adding to the incredible breadth and ease of use of the Windows PC by implementing a typable Windows search box and the amazing capability of the new AI-powered Bing directly into the taskbar. Putting all your search needs for Windows in one easy to find location,” Microsoft chief product officer Panos Panay explained in announcing the update. “The search box is one of the most widely used features on Windows, with over half a billion users every month, and now with the typable Windows search box and the new AI-powered Bing front and center to this experience you will be empowered to find the answers you’re looking for, faster than ever before.”
The new feature is limited to those who already have access to the AI-powered Bing’s desktop and mobile experiences. People on the waitlist still won’t be able to use it, but they will have a lot of ways to talk to the new Bing all at once after approval. Judging from the video demo and Microsoft’s description, Bing on the taskbar is maintaining the more cautious conversational approach adopted by Microsoft in the wake of well-publicized problematic and even unhinged responses from the AI. That means no exploration of the “inner life” of Bing’s AI.