Kevin Roose is a tech columnist for the New York Times, and he's as surprised as you are that he concludes his latest column like so: "I'm switching my desktop computer's default search engine to Bing. And Google, my default source of information for my entire adult life, is going to have to fight to get me back." Roose is among the tech writers who've been given an advance look at a new and improved Bing, Microsoft's long-ridiculed search engine. The company has integrated search with artificial intelligence and yes, there are glitches in the early going (as with Google's rollout of its own AI search tool). "But fixating on the areas where these tools fall short risks missing what's so amazing about what they get right," writes Roose.
"When the new Bing works, it's not just a better search engine. It's an entirely new way of interacting with information on the internet, one whose full implications I'm still trying to wrap my head around." Roose isn't alone in his praise. At the Wall Street Journal, Joanna Stern writes that while it's "far too early to call a winner" in the AI search race, she's confident in one thing: "A big change is coming to how we get information and how we interact with our computers." Both run through some routine examples of queries they used, things like "Write me a menu for a vegetarian dinner party," followed by the more specific "Write a grocery list for that menu, sorted by aisle, with amounts needed to make enough food for eight people."
Stern was impressed with Bing's response to "Can you recap the biggest winners of the 2023 Grammys," which resulted in a bulleted list complete with citations. (She actually begins her review with an old joke at the original Bing's expense, one that asks why Bono had stopped using it. Answer: "Because ... he still hasn't found what he's looking for.") At Inverse, Ian Carlos Campbell writes that "Microsoft might have just caught Google off guard." Campbell also thinks a revolution of sorts in how we search the web is at hand thanks to artificial intelligence: "There's no clear answer as to how the relationship between online advertisers, publishers, and search engine providers will change in our rapidly accelerating chatbot-enabled future, but the possibility for Microsoft to make a dent in Google is on the table." (Read more Bing stories.)