The introduction of Bing Chat as a new feature within the Microsoft Bing search engine platform in February 2023 signaled the attempt of Microsoft to hop into the disruptive craze brought by practical and mainstream applications of artificial intelligence and capitalize on novel developments in machine learning and deep learning, artificial neural networks, and natural language processing or NLP and large language modeling.
Note that the availability of this service was limited to Microsoft Account holders who signed up to be part of the exclusive waitlist. It became an exclusive feature of the Microsoft Edge web browser beginning on 13 March 2023 while requiring an extension and a Microsoft Account for third-party browsers such as Google Chrome. The invite-only restriction was lifted on March 16 and this service became available to all Microsoft account holders.
Pros: Notable Features and Advantages of Bing Chat
Bing Chat is specifically an AI chatbot and generative AI application that demonstrates the capabilities and applications of NLP and large language models. It is similar to ChatGPT from OpenAI in general because it uses the same Generative Pre-trained Transformer language model to provide human-like responses to text-based prompts. However, compared with ChatGPT, it has several notable features and advantages.
Below are the features and specific advantages of Bing Chat
1. Powered By GPT-4 Model
The biggest advantage of Bing Chat is that it uses the GPT-4 model of OpenAI. This is specifically a multimodal large language model with larger parameters and is more advanced and accurate than the previous generations of the GPT model. Take note that the free version of ChatGPT uses GPT-3.5 while the paid ChatGPT Plus version uses GPT-4.
2. Generates Human-Like Responses
Artificial intelligence or natural language chatbots can generate responses that mimic human conversations. The same is true for this particular chatbot from Microsoft. It can understand natural human language inputted either as text or through the built-in voice recognition feature and provide responses that seem more natural than non-AI chatbots.
3. Non-English Language Support
This chatbot also supports other languages apart from English. It is fluent in French, Spanish, German, Chinese, and Japanese languages, among others. This makes it suitable for non-English speakers and usable in other regions. Take note that ChatGPT also supports a range of languages but it remains more effective in understanding the English language.
4. Tailored Conversations Feature
Another advantage of Bing Chat is that it can be tailored into three conversation modes or styles. These include Creative style for imaginative responses, Balanced for providing a mix of factual and engaging responses, and Precise for more factual and concise responses. The Creative style is based on the GPT 4 model while the others are based on GPT 3.5.
5. Functions as a Web Search Engine
It is also worth mentioning that this chatbot also functions as a web search engine because it is integrated with Bing. It can pull out results from web search results and can provide the most recent information about a particular topic. Take note that ChatGPT is built on a knowledge base that might not be as current as real-time search results.
6. Provides Cited Reference Materials
ChatGPT and Google Bard can be informative but one of its biggest drawbacks is that it does not cite references to its responses by default. Bing Chat includes superscripts that link to reference materials in several of its responses. This makes it a more useful and powerful tool for extensive research purposes or paper and electronic trailing.
7. Generates Analyses and Summaries
Bing Chat can also analyze and summarize a text of up to 4000 words and even user-uploaded images or graphics. This chatbot can also proofread and edit texts or provide suggested paraphrased sentences and paragraphs. It can also debug codes to a certain extent and provide some suggestions. Note that ChatGPT has similar functionalities.
8. Integrated With Image Generator
Another interesting feature of this chatbot is that it uses the DALL-E text-to-image service from OpenAI. This means that it can generate images from text-based prompts or text-based instructions from users. Microsoft has standalone image generation services based on DALL-E called the Image Creator and the Canva-like Microsoft Designer.
9. Free and Available on Different Platforms
Another notable advantage of Bing Chat is that it is a free service that allows users to use the GPT 4 model. It is also available in different platforms or operating systems such as Windows, macOS, iOS and iPadOS, and Android. It is also integrated into the Skype application. Note that the GPT 4 model of ChatGPT is only accessible to paid subscribers.
Cons: Key Limitations and Disadvantages of Bing Chat
The aforementioned features and advantages of Bing Chat make it appear that it has more edge than ChatGPT in certain applications such as web search, specific research requirements, or more current information gathering. This is true to a certain extent. However, considering the unique capabilities of ChatGPT, this chatbot also has limitations.
Below are the imitations and disadvantages of Bing Chat:
1. Limited Chats and Sessions
One of the biggest disadvantages of Bing Chat is that a user has a limited number of chats per conversation and session per day to prevent overwhelming the system. The previous cap was 10 chats per conversation and 120 sessions per day. Microsoft has raised the cap to 30 chats per conversation on the Edge Browser or the standalone Bing app.
2. Lacks More Creative Responses
This chatbot may have a Creative conversation style but its capabilities are not on par with ChatGPT as evident from the limited length of its responses. Note that ChatGPT can provide creative responses based on detailed instructions. It can even write a work of fiction or respond using the writing style of a specific famous person.
3. Chat Responses Are Shorter
It is also important to underscore and reiterate the fact that ChatGPT can provide lengthier responses to a particular prompt. These responses can even pass as short-form articles and detailed explainers. The quality of its response depends on the quality of the prompt or the parameters set in the prompt. Bing Chat does not have these capabilities.
4. Limited Tailor-Fitted Responses
The responses of Bing Chat can also be tailor-fitted but it is not as good as ChatGPT. The chatbot from OpenAI can better debug a code and write suggestions or provide instructions when commanded. ChatGPT Plus has more advanced capabilities that allow it to produce more detailed interpretations of images or graphical and visualized data.
5. Problems With Hallucinations
Another disadvantage of Bing Chat is that it can hallucinate. This is exhibited through the generation of inaccurate information or plausible-sounding but nonsensical responses. All chatbots have this problem because they do not have a true understanding of the knowledge of the world and do not have the comprehension levels of humans.
6. High System Requirements
This chatbot also draws a considerable amount of system resources as evidenced by its high RAM usage and processor usage. Running it either on the Microsoft Edge app or other browsers from third parties would result in noticeable heating. Users of devices with lower hardware specifications would also experience more observable lags.
7. Slower Chat Response Time
It also tends to generate a response to a particular prompt at a slower rate than ChatGPT and Google Bard. A simple and short prompt would take this chatbot at least 40 to 60 seconds to generate and complete a response. ChatGPT and Google Bard can respond in under 30 seconds to a similar prompt. This translates to a vexing overall user experience.
8. Notable Ethical and Legal Issues
Natural language chatbots have been welcomed with criticisms. Content creators and other copyright owners have argued that the developers of these platforms have used their content without permission. Some have argued that they should be compensated for using their content. This raises issues regarding intellectual property rights.