Microsoft says Bing has passed 100 million users for the first time, thanks to its chatbot AI
"It feels good to be at the dance"By Rob Thubron
In brief: The Bing search engine has long been the punchline of many jokes, but thanks to the launch of its chatbot AI, Microsoft's product might not be a laughing stock for much longer. According to the Redmond giant, Bing now has over 100 million daily active users for the first time in its history.
It's been just over a month since Microsoft announced its new Bing engine powered by a version of the same AI behind ChatGPT. The updated version is able to provide more relevant results, summarize them from multiple sources, and refine answers, among many other things.
Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's VP for Modern Life, Search and Devices, writes that thanks to a boost in numbers stemming from the new chatbot, Bing has passed 100 million daily active users for the first time, one-third of whom are new to Bing.
"We see this appeal of the new Bing as a validation of our view that search is due for a reinvention and of the unique value proposition of combining Search + Answers + Chat + Creation in one experience," Mehdi wrote.
In addition to the extra daily users, Bing is seeing its engagement grow as more people conduct daily searches. Microsoft says there are two factors responsible for this uptick. The first is the increasing number of people using Edge. Like Bing, the browser was mercilessly mocked for a long time after launch, but that started to change when it switched to the Chromium-based version. Mehdi expects the new Bing and Edge AI features to bring even more users to its browser.
The second factor is believed to be the introduction of the Prometheus AI model, which Mehdi says has improved the quality of Bing's search results.
Bing's chat AI is proving to be popular. Around one-third of the search engine's daily preview users are using Chat every day. Microsoft is seeing roughly three chats per session, with more than 45 million total chats taking place since the preview began. Moreover, 15% of all Bing Chat sessions involve people using the AI to generate new content.
The new Bing Mobile app has also increased the search engine's user numbers, with six times more daily active users compared to pre-launch levels.
Mehdi admits that Bing is still a small, low, single-digit-share player in the search engine market. According to Statista, it has an 8.85% share of the global desktop market compared to Chrome's nearly 85%. But the Microsoft exec says it still feels "good to be at the dance." But will Google's own Chat AI, Bard, spoil the party when it arrives? That might depend on how much Google improves its performance; Bard gave inaccurate answers during its first demo last month.