Microsoft to Add Bing Search to OpenAI’s ChatGPT in Battle With Google

Microsoft Corp. is bringing its Bing search engine to OpenAI Inc.’s ChatGPT, further tightening ties with the artificial intelligence startup in a bid to challenge Google.

Bing will be part of the premium ChatGPT Plus service starting Tuesday, Microsoft said, and the search engine will come to the regular version of the chatbot soon. Using Bing lets customers get up-to-the-minute information, whereas ChatGPT has been trained only on data through Sept. 20, 2021.

Microsoft is OpenAI’s biggest investor and a key partner, giving it an edge in the race to weave artificial intelligence into more software products. The startup, whose chatbot became a viral hit in the past year, has helped Microsoft attract customers to a cloud-based service that lets its Azure clients use OpenAI products. Azure OpenAI now has 4,500 customers, including Volvo AB, Ikea, Mercedes-Benz Group AG, and Shell Plc. That’s up from 2,500 customers at the end of last quarter.

Microsoft unveiled the Bing ChatGPT update Tuesday at a developer conference in Seattle. Earlier this month, OpenAI started adding web browsing as an optional capability to its paid Plus tier. That relied partly on Bing, though the arrangement wasn’t disclosed at the time.

Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella has been refocusing Microsoft’s products around AI programs called copilots — assistants that help users perform tasks in Bing and Office, as well as security and finance software, based on OpenAI’s GPT-4 technology. The software maker is trying to boost sales, attract more cloud-computing businesses and better compete with Google in search. So far, the OpenAI partnership has helped Microsoft position itself at the forefront of a rapidly churning market for new types of AI tools.

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Satya Nadella ai Photographer: Chona Kasinger/Bloomberg