Microsoft wakes the world up again with ChatGPT Bing
Microsoft wakes the world up again with ChatGPT Bing
Microsoft announced last week that it was putting ChatGPT into its Bing search engine and it would only work through its new Edge browser.
AI in general, and generative AI in particular, is a game changer because not only is it able to do more for you, but it can also be made to interact with you as if it were a person. . That’s a huge plus, and Google has clearly been caught napping. Ironically, that was typically Microsoft’s problem.
The graphical user interface (GUI) came from Apple, and Microsoft caught up. The server came from Unix (mainly Sun Microsystems), and Microsoft caught up. The browser came from Netscape, and Microsoft caught up. Microsoft’s history is punctuated by coming from behind to take the market away from whoever was first in running them. This time, Microsoft is the first to evolve generative AI, and its aggressive move has rightly scared Alphabet (Google), which seems to be freaking out.
With this move alone, Microsoft has the potential to hijack search traffic away from Google and repeat past successes against Apple, Sun Microsystems and Netscape. It looks like the more successful efforts of pre-Steve Ballmer Microsoft, who seemed much more willing to do what it took to win.
This week, let’s explore what Bing and AI-powered Edge mean for search — and how Microsoft has Google on the ropes. Then we’ll end with my Product of the Week: Lenovo’s 30th Anniversary ThinkPad.
The advantage of generative AI
In research mode, this means you can fully describe what you want rather than trying to pretend you know Boolean logic.
For example, I asked the new Bing, “Which James Bond movie has the most gimmicks and is the most fun to watch?” and the service recommended “Thunderball”, which has the highest-ranked Bond gimmick and is also ranked sixth in popularity.
If you put the same query in Google, you will only get articles ranking Bond movies. In Google, you would need to spend time asking additional questions to arrive at the same answer. Maybe.
With chat enabled (currently chat is invite-only because we tend to try to get chat apps to say things that would embarrass Microsoft and then happily report what we’ve done on social media) you can have a conversation with the tool to refine your results and help you write them up if you want to go even further.
Looking at the quality of the answer Bing gave me, it was better than what I would have answered if I had been asked the same question – and it will only get better with time. I would have chosen ‘Goldfinger’, forgetting that even though ‘Goldfinger’ is ranked #1, ‘Thunderball’ has most of the gimmicks of ‘Goldfinger’ and a ton more.
With the Jet Pack, “Thunderball” should rank at the top in quality (Jet Pack) and quantity (due to all the unique underwater and tracking gear). So, I can see how “Thunderball” was a better choice than what I would have done myself.
I mentioned that with chat enabled, Bing gets better; rather than doing additional research, you can have a chat with the search tool to narrow down your query. When chat is disabled, it will still allow you to refine your search by adding additional arguments; it just doesn’t help you reduce the initial usefulness of the tool.
I’m a firm believer that once you’re comfortable talking with a computer, just as we ditched “command line” interfaces for GUIs, we’ll ditch Boolean logic queries in favor of interfaces in plain language and will probably end up combining or replacing graphical interfaces with voice interfaces.
Why Google is screwed
The problem for Google is twofold.
First of all, it seems to have made the same research error that Microsoft did with its IE browser by treating it like a cash cow requiring no investment. Google’s second big problem is that the cost of switching between Google and Bing is almost non-existent. If enough people switch from Google to Bing then Google is screwed because there is no solid mechanism to get users back unless it can match Microsoft before habits are formed.
This means that Google must have a comparable solution in the market quickly enough to stop the migration to the more advanced Microsoft platform. While Google is clearly panicked, it’s nowhere near where it needs to be. Unlike Microsoft, which makes most of its money from things it sells or rents rather than ad revenue, Google’s revenue is closely tied to search. If he lost his virtual monopoly, it would hurt. It would hurt a lot.
Google is the well-established vendor, which means it has the home advantage in this fight, but with low switching costs and even a few weeks of use, it could lose a large chunk of its installed base. Given how easy it is to try out Bing, the chance of preventing users from switching before offering (not just advertising) similar functionality is very small.
Google could do what Steve Jobs and Apple would do if they were caught napping and just bashing generative AI and ChatGPT until they caught up. But Google is not a marketing-centric company. Considering how much of his revenue comes from advertising, I think it’s ironic because he should be really good at paying the bills. Unfortunately, Google is not. Even if it did, its history of selling user information means that one of its biggest levers to curb Microsoft’s efforts, FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt), would backfire badly. .
So it looks like Google is triply screwed. It doesn’t have a counter-offer in the market, it doesn’t have the marketing capability of Microsoft’s FUD offer, and it’s already perceived to be less secure than Microsoft, which means it can’t effectively use no safety arguments to keep people from trying the product.
Conclusion: the breathtaking return of Microsoft
When I started covering Microsoft in the early 90s, it seemed like it couldn’t do anything wrong. He took down Apple, razed Sun Microsystems, kicked IBM’s ass, and helped put Netscape out of business. With the launch of Windows 95, it did the impossible by making people so excited about an operating system that they lined up to buy it. An operating system!
But that century was then over. Over the next ten years, Microsoft stalled with Xbox, failed with Zune, lost dominance with its IE browser, lost its phone business, and lost two CEOs sequentially. The last decade it began to rebuild. Azure was a huge success, Windows was vastly improved, and it repaired its eroded reputation – and got out of some antitrust issues.
This decade, the company is starting to look like the old Microsoft in taking the fight to Google. Now it looks like Google is on the ropes and Microsoft has the edge (pun intended). Execution will be critical, but Microsoft has been running very well lately. Suddenly, generative AI and ChatGPT have a positive trend, and Google is afraid. It will be a very interesting decade. Well done!
ThinkPad X1 Carbon 30th Anniversary Edition
ThinkPad Anniversary Editions are a showcase of what the ThinkPad brand stands for.
While Microsoft Surface products are the closest Apple products on the market as a family, ThinkPad has a brand that is second only to Apple in recognition and reliability. In a way, if you think Apple is design over function, ThinkPad is function over design. Simply put, Apple is the sports car you drive for fun, but ThinkPad is the pickup you drive for work.
Both brands have power and recognition (you can identify the two product lines remotely) but have very different goals and user experiences. Lenovo generally operates at a lower margin than Apple, which means you generally get more for your money from Lenovo products. Until Lenovo ran out of stock recently, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 30th Anniversary Edition was a steal at $1,891.45 if you wanted the most secure, reliable, and work-focused laptop. .
ThinkPad X1 Carbon 30th Anniversary Edition (Image credit: Lenovo)
ThinkPads convey a professional vibe, which means they arguably enhance your professional appearance and potentially improve your professional status just by being seen with one. Other brands, especially those that are more consumer-focused, tend to convey a less professional image, which could negatively affect how you are subjectively rated and the success of your business.
In short, when you walk in with a ThinkPad, people usually know you mean business. It’s useful when trying to convey a professional image in something other than animation or graphics, where Apple still has the strongest brand.
Sometimes you just want people to take you seriously and still have a laptop you can rely on reliably. Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon 30th Anniversary Edition is just that, so it’s my product of the week.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.