Washington: India has emerged as one of the top three markets for Microsoft's new Bing preview, which has ChatGPT incorporated into it, and is its biggest image creator market, a senior company official has said, asserting that the search engine is much better than its rival Google.
Powered by ChatGPT, Microsoft launched the new Bing preview on February 7. ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI and launched in November 2022.
"Search has changed and will change. It's not going away. Just like when television came into existence, radio didn't go away, but TV got a lot more excitement. The same will happen here. The new capabilities of AI of chat of answers are now increasingly exciting because they're helping answer questions that search didn't do. And with Bing, we are completely unique in that leadership today,” Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president and consumer chief marketing officer of Microsoft told PTI.
Microsoft, under its Indian-American CEO Satya Nadella, has a vision of the world moving from search engines to what it thinks of "as your co-pilot” for the web. That does four things: do a better search, give answers to questions, chat, and create content.
"We're now having over 100 million daily activities on Bing. We are in 169 countries and India is one of the top three markets for us in this new Bing preview. In fact, India is the top image creator market, based on users using the feature, which is really pretty neat,” Mehdi said.
“So, of all the countries in the world, India's the top. With some of these visual capabilities, one of the things we also announced this last week is knowledge cards. So that you can now get richer views of the searches. We are seeing a Bollywood actor Kiara Advani as the top search in knowledge cards with other actors rounding out in the Indian market. So, seeing great engagement there (in India),” he said.
Responding to a question, he said, the Indian market is very active as people in the country are using many of the new features that Microsoft has recently launched.
The new Bing has been receiving very positive feedback from its users, he said.
“The feedback is overwhelmingly positive as people prefer it as a new way to search, not just the answers, but the ability to chat and search. That’s an important thing because it marks a difference between us and Google,” he said.
“Google is trying to say that the chat has nothing to do with search and they're separate products. We think they're one integrated product. … In the chat we got a lot of feedback about people wanting to use it for more than just search,” he said.
People want to do social entertainment and want to be able to talk to the AI chatbot, Mehdi said, adding Microsoft continues to improve the factual accuracy of answers.
“Because while it can be very creative, there are still areas where we can do a better job. Things like math questions, things like searches about individual people, we are still doing more work there,” he said.
Some of the things like knowledge cards and stories are something very unique to Bing, which Google doesn't do, he said.
“When you do a search, we can now give you a much richer answer of what that looks like. We can give you, for example, five images of the thing you're looking for. So, if you're searching, for example, Kara Advani, we can give you the actor and we can show you various images in the knowledge card, a lot of information,” he said.
“So we are automating particular answers for the Indian market for the top searches, whether that's actors or movie stars or whether it's top news in India or top travel sites in India. We're doing a lot of those special cards for India,” Mehdi said.
Observing that a search is still a magical tool, Mehdi said this has evolved and now it is also being used for planning and getting answers to complicated questions.
Bing with the new AI can respond to complicated questions which regular searches cannot do, he said.
“One of the things that we've made progress with Bing is we're now able to answer those questions, many of those questions that Google cannot do because we're using ChatGPT to help refine… because we're using AI to help answer the question,” he said.
Google has taken a different approach, so far, he said.
“They have a very separate chat product called Bard that's different from Google search. They haven't done any of the AI work in Google searches. We've brought that right in. So, we have a much better offering now for people. And we think that is the future of bringing search and chat and creation together. That’s why our vision's so different from their vision,” Mehdi said.
He noted that the latest development would have an impact on the news industry as well.
“A lot of how the news industry has worked with search today is that there's a very delicate balance of …do great journalism like yourself, then someone searches for the latest news, let's say in Israel, something happened. And then there might be a snippet of information and then I click on it to go to the story,” he said.
“Now with AI and with chat, you can get even more of a clear answer, but not necessarily the article or the great reporting. That will change a little bit. What we are doing is we're providing links now to drive more content and more traffic to people.
"I think what'll happen is we'll see more traffic go to news agencies and new publishers because of what we're doing in Bing to help better get the answer. But it will change the advertising model. We think there'll be fewer ads that will be more relevant and have higher returns,” Mehdi said.
Inputs from PTI