Microsoft is taking on Google, but not the way you think.
Yusuf Mehdi sharing Bing announcements on stage at Microsoft Build 2023.
Credit: Getty Images
If you’re thinking Microsoft is trying to make you change your go-to search engine from Google to Bing you’re thinking about it the wrong way. Even if you’re a Google loyalist, Microsoft is still finding ways into your daily life.
During Microsoft Build 2023, Mashable spoke with corporate vice president Yusuf Mehdi, the man behind the surge of Bing features over the past few months. Mehdi talked about Microsoft’s plans for generative AI, and shed some light on the AI arms race between Microsoft and Google.
When asked if one of Microsoft’s explicit goals is to take on Google for a bigger piece of the search pie, Mehdi said he wouldn’t characterize it that way. Instead, the goal is to tackle unanswered searches, in other words, when people ask a question, but don’t find what they’re looking for. “In our data, half of searches go unanswered. That’s a billion a day,” said Mehdi in a video call from the Seattle-based event. “That’s a huge opportunity to meet needs for customers that aren’t being met.”
Mehdi also made it clear that Bing doesn’t have to try and overtake Google in search traffic to be considered a success in his eyes. “If we get one point of market share, that’s $2 billion of revenue. So we don’t have to change the entire world [regarding] the search landscape to have very successful business and growth.”
One of the ways Microsoft is doing that is by bringing Bing into your personal life through your professional life. “When you’re at work and you’re logged in with your enterprise account, you get access to all of this special enterprise data. And when you go home, and you login with your personal account, all of your personal things are there. Your saved chats are there, and the like. So we wanted to make it work seamlessly for you across both,” said Mehdi.
Through Microsoft’s generative AI productivity app Copilot, Bing chat harnesses search and your company’s data to provide work-related answers. Bing chat history is saved so it can follow your browsing journey on Edge. There’s now a Bing chat integration with Windows 11, and as of this event, Bing is the default search engine for ChatGPT.
So while you may choose to turn to Google for answers to most of your questions, Microsoft is working to put Bing everywhere you go, like an AI ninja.
Cecily is a tech reporter at Mashable who covers AI, Apple, and emerging tech trends. Before getting her master’s degree at Columbia Journalism School, she spent several years working with startups and social impact businesses for Unreasonable Group and B Lab. Before that, she co-founded a startup consulting business for emerging entrepreneurial hubs in South America, Europe, and Asia. You can find her on Twitter at @cecily_mauran(opens in a new tab).
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