bing chat is coming to rival browsers

Microsoft is quietly testing access to its Bing AI chatbot on rival browsers Google Chrome and Apple Safari, a move that could significantly expand the reach of its ChatGPT-powered tool.

The software giant confirmed to various media outlets yesterday that it has started “flighting” or testing, Bing Chat access for “select users” on non-Microsoft browsers.

While initially only available in Microsoft Edge and the Bing mobile apps, expanding Bing AI beyond the two applications demonstrates Microsoft’s ambitions for the software to become a mainstream consumer AI tool. The key benefit is that more people will gain access to Bing AI’s knowledge and conversational abilities.

“We are excited to expand access to even more users once our standard testing procedures are complete.”, Caitlin Roulston, Directors of Communications at Microsoft, told the tech-focused online magazine TechCrunch in an e-mailed statement.

Microsoft Could Offer a Limited Version of Bing Chat for These Other Browsers

Early testers report some limitations compared to Edge. Bing Chat in Chrome restricts responses to 2,000 characters and resets after 5 turns versus 4,000 characters and 30 turns in Edge. Microsoft (MSFT) declined to confirm these differences. Still, any expansion is a positive step, showing the tech firm’s desire for Bing AI to grow beyond its products.

Bing AI’s “no search mode,” currently in development, aims to make the software more like ChatGPT and less reliant on Bing’s search engine. This suggests Microsoft wants Bing AI to compete directly with AI tools like ChatGPT and not just enhance Bing search.

Testers have also noticed a native dark mode arrived with Bing Chat on Chrome, giving users the option to switch to a black background that matches Dark Mode in Edge. While not yet fully rolled out, the dark mode option suggests Microsoft is actively working to improve the experience.

The news follows Bing AI’s recent integration into Skype and the launch of an enterprise version. Microsoft’s aim is for Bing AI to become a general-purpose AI tool rivaling OpenAI’s ChatGPT – and expanding its reach via other browsers moves it closer toward that goal.

For consumers, getting access to Bing AI directly from their preferred browser – Chrome, Safari, or otherwise – will make the tool much easier to use on a regular basis. An AI tool locked to one browser limits its potential audience and impact.

Microsoft expanding Bing AI’s reach signals the company’s confidence in its chatbot’s abilities and its desire to compete in the emerging consumer AI space. Making Bing AI a cross-browser tool has the potential to turn it into the mainstream AI service Microsoft hopes it will become.

But for now, Microsoft is proceeding cautiously by only “flighting” access for select Chrome and Safari users. More information should emerge as Bing Chat’s multi-browser testing program expands.

Microsoft Confirmed that Bing Chat Will Continue to be Free

bing chat creating charts

Earlier this month, Microsoft confirmed to Windows Latest, an online magazine that tracks updates and product launches from the Redmond-based company, that it plans to keep Bing AI a free tool that can be accessible to anyone.

Bing AI is powered by the latest and most powerful model created to date by OpenAI, the company that developed the popular AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT and that is partially owned by the firm founded by Bill Gates.

Accessing the premium version of ChatGPT costs $20 per month. This has stirred up fears that Microsoft may have plans to launch a similar paid membership. However, this view would be an obstacle to the company’s intention to make Bing AI the go-to AI chatbot for millions of users across the world.

In March this year, Microsoft’s solution attracted more than 100 million daily active users – an important milestone for a consumer AI application. Earlier this week, the firm launched “Visual Search” as part of its latest enhancements to the tool.

With this feature, users can prompt the AI model to analyze and discuss any image they upload. In addition, the company launched the Enterprise version of Bing Chat for organizations to adopt the solution as a way to facilitate access to their systems and databases without comprising their security. This news tool can be accessed for free for companies that have a Microsoft 365 license.