Software giant Microsoft said it will be bringing artificial intelligence (AI) to its Bing search engine and Edge Web browser to enhance customer experience.
Microsoft, the maker of the Windows operating system is staking its future on AI through billions of dollars of investment as it directly challenges Alphabet’s Google.
The Redmond, Washington, company once dominated the technology world, but it has lost the lead position in the search and browser markets to Google.
Microsoft has made investment in the startup OpenAI that released ChatGPT chatbot.
“This technology is going to reshape pretty much every software category,” Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella told reporters in a briefing at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond.
The company’s share of search has fallen to about a tenth of the market. A Microsoft executive said that each percentage point of share gain would bring in $2 billion in revenue.
The new Bing search engine is live in limited preview on desktop computers and will be available for mobile devices in coming weeks.
Bing will be powered by AI and run on a new large language model that is more powerful than ChatGPT, said Microsoft Consumer Chief Marketing Officer Yusuf Mehdi. A chatbot will help users refine queries more easily, give more relevant, up-to-date results, and even make shopping easier.
Microsoft is now aiming to market OpenAI’s technology, including ChatGPT, to its cloud customers and add the same power to its suite of products, including search.
Near-term, the partnership with OpenAI is more relevant for its business customers, said Gartner analyst Jason Wong. Still, he said, it could offer disruptive opportunities in consumer businesses as well.
“Except for gaming, Microsoft has not been a leader in key consumer technologies, such as search, mobile and social media,” he added.
Google on Monday unveiled a chatbot of its own called Bard, while it is planning to release AI for its search engine that can synthesize material when no simple answer exists online.
Microsoft’s decision to update its Edge browser will intensify competition with Google’s Chrome browser.
The rivalry in search is now among the industry’s biggest, as OpenAI sets up Microsoft to expand its 9 percent share at Google’s expense, said Daniel Ives, an analyst with Wedbush Securities.