If you’ve ever wished your computer could tell you it loves you… and that you don’t love your spouse, then you may be happy to know that Microsoft is bringing its new AI-powered Bing to the Windows 11 Search Box. It’s just one of many new features rolling out today as part of a major Windows 11 update.
Other new features include the ability to pair an iPhone or iPad with your PC to view notifications and respond to messages on your desktop, tabs in the Notepad app, support for new widgets, an updated taskbar that automatically switches to touchscreen or desktop mode on 2-in-1 devices, and more.
It feels strange in 2023 to say that the most interesting update could be related to Microsoft’s Bing search engine. While Bing has long been an afterthought in the search space, it’s the default search tool built into the company’s operating system. I just haven’t really found much reason to use it in the past.
The new Bing uses AI chat functionality developed by OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. But while ChatGPT cannot answer questions about anything that happened in the past year or so, Bing can answer questions with up-to-date information that’s even accurate sometimes (it still has a hard time telling fact from fiction and has been known to get belligerent if your chats go on too long).
To be fair, the company has rolled out some changes to Bing’s chatbot functionality that will hopefully make it less likely to threaten to boil your rabbit, but I did find myself getting into an argument with Bing yesterday. I asked it what the major announcements from Mobile World Congress 2023 were and it insisted that one of them was a new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold. I asked Bing if it was sure that model hadn’t been unveiled in 2022 (it had). Bing remained convinced it was announced this week at MWC 2023.
The new AI-powered Bing won’t be available to all Windows 11 users immediately. If you can already use it on the web, then it should be available in your Windows 11 search box after you install the latest update. If you don’t have access, you can join Microsoft’s waitlist.
On the one hand, I’m kind of happy that I’ll be able to ask questions of Bing without manually firing up the Edge web browser (I say “manually,” because once you type a query for Bing into the search box, the result will pop up in an Edge browser window).
On the other hand, given the questionable results I’ve gotten so far, I’m starting to see why people keep getting into arguments with the chatbot. Maybe AI-powered, chat-based search is the future. But I’m not sure it’s the present.
On the other hand, there are a few other new features in the Windows 11 22H2 “Moment” update that I can see myself using, including the ability to use the Windows Snipping Tool to save screen recordings as videos.
You can read more about new features rolling out to Windows 11 in Microsoft’s announcement.