UPDATED 15:15 EDT / FEBRUARY 22 2023


Microsoft brings Bing’s AI chatbot to mobile devices and adds voice support

Microsoft Corp. is making the new artificial intelligence chatbot in Bing available on mobile devices and introducing support for voice commands. 

The software giant announced the move today alongside several other AI-focused product updates. The updates span Bing, Skype and the company’s Edge browser.

At a product event earlier this month, Microsoft introduced an AI chatbot for Bing that can provide natural language answers to user queries. It’s based on a neural network developed by OpenAI LLC. As part of the product updates announced today, Microsoft is making the chatbot available on the iOS and Android versions of Bing. 

According to Microsoft, mobile users can have Bing display three versions of the same chatbot-generated answer. Bing can display the chatbot’s default answer, a simplified version or a set of bullet points. It supports more than 100 languages and also provides the option to translate between them.

“Available on iOS and Android today, the Bing mobile app offers a fresh look and experience,” Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president for modern life, search and devices at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post today. “Tapping the Bing icon at the bottom will invoke a chat session, where you can engage in all the same ways you can from the desktop. Ask simple or complex questions and receive answers and citations.”

At the recent product event where the Bing chatbot made its debut, Microsoft also introduced a new version of Edge with AI features. The features are available through a dedicated sidebar in the browser’s interface. Users can ask questions about a webpage and have Edge summarize its contents, as well as generate new text.

The new AI features in the desktop version of Edge are now becoming available on mobile devices. Like the Bing search engine, Edge can provide answers to user questions in multiple formats. Users can choose to receive the browser’s default response to a question, a simplified version of the response or bullet points. 

Microsoft detailed the new mobile versions of Bing and Edge today alongside two other AI updates. Bing is receiving a feature that will enable users to interact with its built-in chatbot using voice commands. Additionally, Microsoft is making the search engine’s chatbot available in Skype through a new integration.

Bing’s conversational search features and the new capabilities that were detailed today are available through an invite-only preview program. According to Microsoft, more than 1 million users are participating in the program. The company plans to make the features available to more users in the coming weeks.

In parallel, Google LLC is running an early access program for its competing Bard chatbot. Bard is embedded in the company’s search engine and can generate natural language responses to complex user questions. The chatbot is based on LaMDA, an internally developed neural network that Google first detailed in 2021.

Image: Microsoft

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