Microsoft might finally have a hit on its hands with the ChatGPT-enhanced 'new Bing' after a being a minor player in the search world for more than a decade.
OpenAI's ChatGPT attracted one million users in one week and now, after announcing the 'new Bing' with ChatGPT features, Microsoft officials have highlighted their own figure: a million people signed up on the waitlist to try out the new Bing in just 48 hours.
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"We're humbled and energized by the number of people who want to test-drive the new AI-powered Bing! In 48 hours, more than 1 million people have joined the waitlist for our preview. If you would like to join, go to http://bing.com/new!," tweeted Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft corporate vice president and consumer chief marketing officer.
Yusuf and Microsoft chief Satya Nadella announced the new Bing on Wednesday. It's still available only in limited preview to some users, while everyone else needs to sign up to the waitlist, which involves signing into to a Microsoft Account. If you don't have one, you'll need to create one.
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Many people would have signed into an Office app or Outlook with a Microsoft account, but few people would ever have signed into Bing, which is currently used by about 3% of the world who use search engines. Most of us -- about 92% of search users, according to Statcounter GlobalStats -- use Google and would have signed in at least once before.
After signing in to Bing, it appears as if you can use the new chat box on the page, but trying it will redirect you to a notice that you need access to the new Bing. If you sign up from Chrome, the Bing website will prompt you to install Edge. Should you want to cut the wait to access the new Bing, Microsoft prompts you to install the Bing Extension for either Chrome or another browser such as Safari.
ChatGPT gained 100 million users within just two months to become the fastest-growing app of all time. The growing waitlist for the new Bing suggests the buzz around ChatGPT is delivering rare positive results for Microsoft Bing, albeit not strictly to try Bing search but to test out its ChatGPT feature.
Still, it appears the new Bing with ChatGPT is the moment that former Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer was looking for when he explained in 2011 why he remained so bullish on a loss-making Bing.
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"If you go to a search engine today and you say, 'Print my boarding pass on Southwest,' you'll get nothing back but chaos. The truth of the matter is, computers, search engines, nothing really understands verbs today. We only understand nouns. And yet, most of us as human beings want to command these systems to do something for us," said Ballmer.