Microsoft Bing AI Chat Gets Multimodal on Windows With Voice and Image Searches
Microsoft has upgraded the Bing generative AI chatbot available on the desktop of Windows 11 to include voice input and a vocal response from the AI. The multimodal approach for Bing on the desktop also brings a full integration of the Bing Image Creator, first unveiled in March.
Voice input has already been available for the Bing AI chatbot through the mobile app. Now it is accessible within Windows 11. The new text-to-speech tool gives Bing its own voice in response. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it almost feels like Microsoft is recreating its mothballed Cortana voice assistant in some ways. That said, there’s are no smart home controls and of course no mention of the name Cortana, at least for now.
“We know many of you love using voice input for chat on Mobile. It’s now also available on desktop by clicking on the microphone icon in the Bing Chat box,” Microsoft explained in its announcement. “Bing Chat also supports text to speech answers—it will respond to your questions in its own voice. Using voice input, ask Bing Chat, “What’s the toughest tongue twister you know?””
Microsoft has been expanding the availability of Bing Image Creator since March. Though it was only for the Creative mode of Bing at first, it’s now usable when Bing is in either Precise or Balanced modes as well. The AI is also now more likely to pull up visual results when asked questions about travel, illustrating the answers.
Bing uses a version of OpenAI’s LLM named Prometheus to compose 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. The company regularly upgrades the AI and its features beyond just the visual and audio communications tools. The Image Creator update was announced with an extension of the conversational turns Bing Chat allows from 20 to 30 and raised the daily total turns to 300. That counts for saved conversations as well.