4 min Applications

By only supporting Bing, ChatGPT risks making more errors

By only supporting Bing, ChatGPT risks making more errors

The ChatGPT mobile app can now access the Internet. At least, only through Bing. Is it wise of OpenAI to only support the Microsoft search engine?

The ChatGPT app has gradually been rolled out to the world. Now global ChatGPT Plus subscribers can use GPT-4, OpenAI’s latest AI model, and utilize “Browse with Bing” via a new feature. This combination sounds like the most impressive version of the chatbot yet. Typically, there is an end date locked in to the chatbot, owing to the dataset that GPT-4 uses only extending until September 2021. However, ChatGPT can now surf the Web following Bing Chat, built on the same technology. What opportunities does this allow for?

Fewer misses

It is undeniable that generative AI has enormous potential. In the form of chatbots, we’re already familiar with how human-like and creative the output can be based on just a few words from the user. So-called “hallucinations” only often disrupt the image of a reliable AI assistant. This can come in various forms, but the end date of almost two years ago imposes a significant limitation. What if it could fact-check itself through a search engine?

That sounds like a good idea, with the goal of making fewer misses. However, Bing is not the most reliable player in the space. Stanford University stated three years ago that Bing posted ‘alarmingly’ high levels of disinformation right at the top of its search results. Microsoft is playing catch-up, which will undoubtedly include refining the algorithms behind Bing. Still, we need not give the tech giant the benefit of the doubt, as it also initially made its own Bing Chat available prematurely.

Incidentally, it seems that Bing Chat and ChatGPT are not competing with each other with this feature. Where the former is a chatbot within a search engine, ChatGPT is a chatbot with the option to roam the Internet—a subtle yet fundamental difference.

No alternative

As TechCrunch rightly notes, the fundamental problem with a reliance on Bing is that ChatGPT does not offer an alternative. Not very surprising either, given that Microsoft has made a large investment in OpenAI. Conversely, OpenAI tech is now in virtually all solutions within the Microsoft suite. In this regard, the interaction has only grown stronger.

The advantage for ChatGPT is that access to the Internet again makes the product more attractive to users. Since the AI hype thanks to the chatbot has been going on for a while, it is necessary to attract attention again with a striking new feature.

Specifically, there is no painful example yet of a miss thanks to the new search functionality. However, that is a matter of time, even if Bing somehow served up near-perfect results. Needless to say that it doesn’t, which makes spectacular future errors inevitable. The alternative? Restricting the chatbot to the point where it is worthless, defanged to the point where it will only deliver the most basic answers imaginable. How is there a solution to this?


What does offer hope is that users are far more likely to distrust a chatbot than to question a search engine. If Bing Chat goes wrong, that can be concealed because it cites evidence and thus keeps the trappings of a search engine. Conversely, that risk is smaller because the disclaimers surrounding ChatGPT are a lot more prominent.

This is also why Google CEO Sundar Pichai was only too happy to stress that its own Bard chatbot needed to be inspirational rather than hyperfunctional.

Tip: Google doesn’t trust its own chatbot, so why should we?

It’s a smart move at this early stage of chatbot interactions. Businesses and political organizations are still getting used to generative AI and its capabilities. Parties like Databricks and tech giants Nvidia and Google are still busy defining “guardrails” for AI models. In addition, it is already clear that businesses can only secure their own data by seeking out specific professional AI applications, with traceable, reliable data sets.

Within its own ecosystem

So ChatGPT’s new feature may just be seen as a trick that can yield stunning results. Perhaps some tweaks will be needed, but the functionality sounds useful. What we see, however, is that chatbots are also looming in ecosystems. ChatGPT remains within Microsoft territory, Bard at Google. This is not necessarily negative for the end user, except that choices are being taken away.

More pivotal at this stage is the fact that ChatGPT, however fickle, currently enjoys a reputation as the most potent chatbot for non-specific purposes. In time, if it can always roam the Internet via Bing, it will become apparent whether that will hurt that reputation. Google will be poised to run off with the spoils if search engine quality takes centre stage.