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Microsoft has removed the waiting list for access to its own Bing AI chat feature. The tech giant is further expanding search features in its battle with rival Google, which is rushing to integrate AI into Search as well.

Head of marketing Yusuf Mehdi announced the update in New York. Bing Chat is exiting “limited preview” status, meaning anyone with a Microsoft account can now access the chatbot.

The AI version of Bing is based on OpenAI’s advanced GPT-4 large language model (LLM). Microsoft has invested billions in the AI company, securing the ability to integrate OpenAI technology into Microsoft services.

Also read: Generative AI: How can GPT-4 shape the corporate world?

Additional features, Google trying to meet the challenge

New and existing users can count on a number of new features of the search function. For example, it is now possible to do an image-based search. This feature is “multi-modal. That is, you can tell Bing what you are looking for in multiple ways at once. An demo that TechRadar received from Microsoft shows the search engine a picture of a knitted monkey along with a question asking if the chatbot could come up with instructions on how to knit it. Images may now also appear in search results.

While users can count on a lot of additional functionality from Bing, Google is not sitting still. It is reportedly in a rush to come up with a counterpart via Project Magi. The end result should be a Bing AI/ChatGPT-like chatbot that can compete with Microsoft’s offerings.

For the first time in over 20 years, Google should care. And so it actually seems to be doing so. Falling behind in this race could have considerable consequences for Google. Samsung, for example, is said to have already threatened to switch to Microsoft Bing as its default search engine for smartphones.

Also read our blog on the AI battle between the search engines: AI creates identity crisis in security world