Microsoft has no shame: Bing spat on my Chrome search with a fake AI response

Microsoft has no shame: Bing spat on my Chrome search with a fake AI response

It was time to download Google Chrome onto a new Windows 11 computer.

i typed Chrome in the Microsoft Edge search bar.

I was greeted by a full screen Microsoft Bing AI chatbot window, which promptly told me it was looking for… Bing features.

Search query: Chrome. Search Result: News articles about Bing features.
Screenshot by Sean Hollister / The Verge

I lifted my jaw off the floor and tried again. Same result every time.

Same exact text, mashed potato. This is clearly not a GPT-4 based chatbot from Microsoft at work, it’s a completely pre-packaged interaction. Here’s how much of my screen it took up and how it looks magnified:

Every search results link is pushed completely off my screen by this default ad copy.
Screenshot by Sean Hollister / The Verge

This alleged AI answer even has a title: Bing: The Search Engine That Does More Than Just Search.
Screenshot by Sean Hollister / The Verge

I run it on another computer. Across the country, a colleague tells me he’s seen the exact same thing setting up his wife’s gaming laptop. Across the ocean, another colleague calls him back on his cell phone. It’s not universal, but neither is it a small experiment in a single region.

Maybe this doesn’t seem like a big deal to you. I’m using Microsoft’s search engine in Microsoft’s browser on Microsoft’s operating system, after all why would Microsoft voluntarily link me to a competitor?

Let’s put things another way: Microsoft just gave itself a full-screen ad in search results simulating an AI interaction. This search result is squeezing the Microsoft product instead of respecting users’ intentions.

Yes, Microsoft has previously linked Edge when you search for Chrome but not like this. Let’s compare:

Image Slider: Drag to see before and after.

Even if you disagree with me that Microsoft is once again pushing its Edge where it doesn’t belong, this sort of move makes a mockery of the company’s AI ambitions.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says he wants Edge to be truly competitive. We first build a market-competitive product that actually meets users’ needs, he told us in a February interview, when my editor-in-chief Nilay Patel asked if the Bing AI browser integration was in part an attempt to capture market share. market from Chrome.

It’s not just a search engine; It’s a response engine, Nadella said at the beginning of the show, because we’ve always had responses, but with these large models, response fidelity improves dramatically.

Would you call replacing a Chrome search with juicy news articles about Bing’s feature search better? I know where I land on this.

But it matters to both Microsoft and Google that their responses I am seen as better, because they’re pushing aside the ten blue links that have dominated search for so long. We’ve been worrying aloud lately whether Google’s new Search Generative Experience would prioritize ads over actual responses, but it seems we won’t have to wait to see how brazen these companies can get. Unless there’s heavy pushback, I expect Ads to win whenever it’s profitable or convenient.

When asked for comment, a spokesperson forwarded this generic statement from Microsoft director of product marketing Jason Fischel:

We often experiment with new features, UX, and behaviors to test, learn, and improve experiences for our customers. These tests are often brief and do not necessarily represent what is ultimately or generally provided to customers.

Shortly after posting this story with that comment, Fischel confirmed that Microsoft has pulled the plug on this particular idea. The experience is no longer airborne. Sure enough, I don’t see it anymore.

Some open questions: Done does this represent what Microsoft wants to provide to customers? Would it have been just an experiment if I hadn’t blown up Microsoft? And given that we’ve personally seen it from across the country and across the ocean, what’s the definition of the company in general? I’ve asked Microsoft some of these questions and will update you if we get answers.

As we keep saying whenever Microsoft does this kind of shit, it’s a shame because Edge is really good. I was just starting to try the Microsoft browser again because I found Bing fascinating. Now, Bing is why I’m boycotting Edge yet again.

Update, 9:59 PM ET: He added that Microsoft turned off this experience shortly after publishing this story.

#Microsoft #shame #Bing #spat #Chrome #search #fake #response

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