A year ago Microsoft built AI into Bing but it
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A year ago, Microsoft built AI into Bing, but it didn’t help defeat Google—now it’s focusing on Copilot

A year ago, Microsoft introduced the AI ​​chatbot ChatGPT into its Bing search engine. This move took AI to the next level and was expected to skyrocket Bing’s popularity. But a year later, Google still has more than 91% share of the global search market, while Bing is up less than a percent. At the same time, the number of ChatGPT users has increased to 100 million per week. Therefore, Microsoft reconsidered its strategy and focused its efforts on developing the Copilot AI assistant.

 Image source: Microsoft

Image source: Microsoft

Microsoft doesn’t consider Bing’s small market share growth a failure. “We are seeing an increase in the share [Bing], — said Yusuf Mehdi, director of consumer marketing at Microsoft. — Even a few point gains in stock make a big difference to Microsoft and to customers because they create more competition.” In accordance with its new strategy, Microsoft is gradually moving away from its renewed search battle with Google and focusing on promoting Copilot as a separate product.

Copilot is positioned as the future of Microsoft’s AI efforts, which are more focused on productivity and creativity than just search. Over the past year, the company has rolled out AI capabilities almost everywhere, including integrating a new Copilot key into laptop and Windows desktop keyboards that will allow users to interact with an AI assistant with just one tap. “We really maintained a single brand called Copilot, so we took away all the other things, – says Mehdi. — So, we have one brand, one experience.”

Microsoft’s new Copilot ad for the Super Bowl, a de facto national holiday in the United States, features no Windows PCs, spreadsheets or Xbox consoles – just one smartphone and an effort to encourage people to download the Copilot app on iOS and Android. A person who has never heard of Copilot before will not even realize that this is an advertisement for Microsoft until the very end.

“This is a pretty big deal for a company that has historically been heavily focused on the PC.”, says Mehdi. Microsoft is steadily rolling out new Copilot features that improve the overall user experience and image creation capabilities of its AI assistant. The ad, which focuses on the idea of ​​using AI for creativity, walks a fine line between expanding the creativity and skills of people and concerns about replacing humans with artificial intelligence.

Microsoft has significantly improved its ability to create and process images using AI. “You will see a new look. We did a lot of very subtle things for the user experience, like color handling, says Mehdi. — Creating an image is one of the things that really resonates. I think this is the first step towards making people feel like they can be creators again.”

Creating images with Copilot has become extremely popular due to its accessibility and free cost. Unfortunately, this has opened the door for these tools to be abused, particularly to create fake explicit images of celebrities. Microsoft has now announced that “continues to investigate these images and has strengthened existing security systems to further prevent misuse of our services to create such images.”

In addition to creating images, many Copilot users use it for programming, coding, research and analysis, but search queries still dominate. “Of the five billion chats that we talked about, I would say that the predominant amount of chats are essentially searches, about 70 percent.”says Mehdi.

Obviously, the move away from search as Microsoft’s primary entry point into AI also impacts how Copilot appears in various products and services. It’s been quite a confusing year for the Copilot brand, which started inside GitHub, then appeared in some software products, and then got a big boost as Microsoft 365 Copilot in Office apps. It was eventually renamed Copilot for Microsoft 365, with each Microsoft department seemingly busy launching separate Copilots without a cohesive, clear plan.

Now the situation is changing. “We want to ensure that every person has only one Copilot, says Mehdi. — and you can add features simply by choosing a subscription plan”. So in the future, any plan like Copilot Pro or Copilot for Microsoft 365 will simply be an add-on to the main Copilot. Mehdi assured that Microsoft will continue to add new features over time, even to the point where users can create their own Copilot variants.

Microsoft is also working on a major AI-focused Windows update. “The unique thing about Copilot inside Windows is that it knows what context you’re in, – says Mehdi. — He can understand the situation and perform more complex tasks.” Microsoft is also considering running advanced AI models locally on PCs using specialized neural processing units (NPUs).

Microsoft also plans to use AI to simplify user communications with PCs and peripherals. “I think about 20 percent of users [Windows] use 10 percent of functions. Once you can say, ‘Hey, put my computer in dark mode, set up this printer for me, help me do the following,’ we can turn everyone into a power Windows user,” says Mehdi. — It sounds cliché, but I think that something that opens people up to the ability to use computers to do amazing things will be in high demand.”

About the author

Robbie Elmers

Robbie Elmers is a staff writer for Tech News Space, covering software, applications and services.

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