In late July, Microsoft confirmed its ChatGPT-like Bing Chat was testing in third-party browsers like Chrome and Safari for select users after various reports had spotted the feature in action. Today, the company directly announced that Bing Chat would “soon” be available in third-party browsers, including both on the web and on mobile devices.
The news indicates Microsoft aims to compete on AI across platforms besides its own, in addition to those places where Bing Chat is already available, like the Bing mobile app and Microsoft Edge web browser. It would also put the AI chatbot up against other browser’s built-in tools, like Google’s generative AI search features, available in the Google mobile app and Chrome browser.
“This next step in the journey allows Bing to showcase the incredible value of summarized answers, image creation and more, to a broader array of people,” Microsoft explained in its announcement of the coming features, which celebrates the 6-month anniversary of the AI-powered Bing. “You’ll get most of the great benefits of Bing and we’ll continue to optimize along the way to meet your needs across different browsers,” it read.
However, the company cautioned that, while the Bing Chat experience would work in users’ preferred web browsers, the “best” experience would be found in the Microsoft Edge browser.
During tests, for example, users noticed that Bing Chat in Chrome only supported five messages per conversation, instead of the 30 available in Microsoft Edge. It was also limiting the character count to 2,000, instead of the 3,000 supported by Edge.
Microsoft today hinted toward these limitations, adding that with Edge, users would “unlock longer conversations, chat history, and more Bing features built right into the browser.”
In the blog post, the company also celebrated several other recently launched features, including multimodal visual search in Bing Chat — meaning the ability to search using both text and images — a feature Google first introduced back in 2021. Bing’s model, however, leverages Open AI to allow users to input images into the Chat and then prompt the chatbot with related questions.
Microsoft additionally referenced the launch of Dark Mode for Bing Chat and the newly announced Bing Chat Enterprise, which includes commercial data protection for use inside organizations where sensitive data cannot leak out. A number of businesses have already banned employees from using consumer applications like ChatGPT due to data protection requirements, including Apple, Samsung, Walmart, Verizon and major banks, including Bank of America, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan.
The company also revealed a few milestones about Bing Chat to date, noting that it’s since seen over 1 billion chats and over 750 million images in the chatbot in addition to 9 consecutive quarters of growth on Edge.
An exact launch date for third-party browser support for Bing Chat was not provided, but the feature is said to be arriving soon.