Microsoft flaunts new Bing on its latest Windows 11 update

The software giant puts its new AI-powered Bing capabilities on its taskbar, one of the operating system’s most widely used features.
3 March 2023

Microsoft flaunts ChatGPT on its latest Windows 11 update. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Ever since Microsoft made its foray into the developer behind the AI-driven ChatGPT, it has not slowed down in introducing the tech to its products and services. Within the first three weeks of announcing a multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment in OpenAI, Microsoft had not only launched the new AI-powered Bing into preview but also expanded the new search engine to the Bing and Edge mobile apps and introduced it into Skype. 

Of course, the software giant is not done with its race to integrate generative AI tech into its products. The streak continues this week as Microsoft announced that it is giving its Windows 11 a free Bing AI upgrade. Basically what it means for Windows 11 users is that they will see the new Bing being added into the search box that’s integrated into the taskbar by default. 

With the update, users will be able to directly access files, settings and perform web queries. So far, only users of the new Bing preview will have access to its additional AI capabilities out of the gate. The company did share that it will continue to add users who have signed up for the new Bing waitlist. 

“Today, we take the next major step forward, adding to the incredible breadth and ease of use of the Windows PC by implementing a typable Windows search box and the amazing capability of the new AI-powered Bing directly into the taskbar. Putting all your search needs for Windows in one easy-to-find location,” Microsoft said in a blog posting.

The idea is to make the new Bing AI more easily accessible, expanding its reach further. Microsoft said people who have already received access to test the new Bing AI would be able to begin using it in Windows after updating their computers. Those without access to Bing AI must still sign up to join the waitlist

According to the software giant, the search box is one of Windows’ most widely used features, with over half a billion monthly users. “Now, with the typable Windows search box and the new AI-powered Bing front and center to this experience, you will be empowered to find the answers you’re looking for faster than ever before,” the company said.

To give an idea of how it works, a Microsoft spokesperson told CNBC in an email, “After entering a query into the search portion of the taskbar at the bottom of the screen, a user will see search results and a new chat button. Clicking that button will open an Edge browser window and prompt the Bing chatbot to respond to the person’s query.”

CNBC also shared how the new Bing option is only becoming a regular fixture of Windows 11, which Microsoft released in 2021. “Support for Windows 10 ends in 2025, and many people have not upgraded yet. In January, about 69% of Windows PCs were still running Windows 10, and 18% were on Windows 11, according to estimates from StatCounter,” CNBC added.

The latest Windows 11 software also includes technology to link Apple devices to Windows, allowing iPhones to share text messages, phone calls, and app notifications with Windows PCs. Microsoft said it is making that feature available to a “small percentage” of testers and will expand over time.