Microsoft tells us that its Bing search engine has reached new heights, now boasting 100 million daily active users.
The news came via a post on Microsoft Bing blog (opens in a new tab) a watch page that saw the difference ChatGPT-based AI made to the Bing traffic in its first month of existence, increasing its number by more than 100 million for the first time ever.
The company notes that there are over a million users of the new Bing AI (in preview) and that it has helped boost search engine results to meet a new milestone.
Microsoft then says that a third of Bing AI’s “millions of active users” are new to Bing, showing that the chatbot is directing people to the search engine, although there seems to be an element of confusion here.
Is it “over a million” AI users or “millions”? While technically not contradictory statements, we don’t understand why Microsoft didn’t just call it “millions” in both cases because it clearly sounds like more. For example, several million, or even several? Insert shrug here.
In any case, Microsoft has also admitted the obvious truth that Bing is still a long way off the pace compared to Google: “This [100 million] is a surprisingly remarkable number, and yet we are fully aware that we remain a small, low, single-digit player. That said, it’s good to be at the dance!”
Analysis: Can this growth be sustained?
Let’s face it: Bing AI isn’t just a chatbot. It’s a vehicle to help Bing challenge Google, and Microsoft is hoping to move through the gears quickly to gain momentum.
It’s not just about pushing for market share with the Bing search engine, but also the line of attack on the Edge browser, as we have already seen with the implementation of the Bing AI taskbar in Windows 11: the icon that linked all the way to the Bing website, opening it in Edge .
(Note that after the disappointment of this and the way Microsoft made it seem like the AI was integrated into the taskbar and not just the link, the Bing icon has disappeared from the search box for now, although we’ve been told it will be back periodically).
In any case, we see that Microsoft’s plan is working so far, with the Bing AI preview successfully recruiting regular users to add to the ranks of Bing’s search engines – and quite a few of them – but will this state of affairs continue?
We have doubts. You see, the Bing chatbot is all shiny, new, and still an object of curiosity. It had a major impact in the beginning, as you’d expect from new technology, and that interest has been realized through measures such as the recent introduction of a trio of personalities to experiment with, as well as the various restrictions that Microsoft previously placed on suspending chats.
And no doubt, there’s still entertainment to push the AI around, try to engage with it from various angles – humor inevitably being one of them – and generally mess with the chatbot. This won’t last long though.
Don’t get us wrong, there will be serious Bing bot users of course, but we imagine a good deal of the early attraction comes from the curious or the mischievous.
In that regard, the preliminary numbers aren’t really a measure of how much of an impact the “new Bing” as Microsoft calls it will be. If the growth continues and AI is significantly refined and improved over the next few months, we may come back and talk about the new wave of Bing adoption.
Until then, we remain skeptical and generally believe that Microsoft has opened the door too soon. We’re not sure the AI will be fine-tuned enough to impress as much as it should for some time yet, but it’s easy to see why Microsoft wanted to launch it. It needs all the weapons it can muster against Google (and Chrome, for that matter), and the latter company is pushing ahead with its own AI tech (Bard).
By Advanced MS user (opens in a new tab)