February 13, 2023


Microsoft announced last week that it was moving ChatGPT to its Bing search engine and that it would only work through its new Edge browser.

AI in general, and generative AI in particular, are game changers because they are not only able to do more for you, but they can be made to interact with you as if it were a person. That’s a huge advantage, and Google clearly got caught napping. Ironically, this was usually Microsoft’s problem.

The graphical user interface (GUI) came from Apple, and Microsoft caught up. Server Unix came from (mostly Sun Microsystems), and Microsoft caught up. The browser came from Netscape, and Microsoft caught up. Microsoft’s history is intertwined with coming from behind and taking the first to market by out-executing. This time, Microsoft is the first to scale up generative AI, and its aggressive move has scared the crap out of Alphabet (Google), which appears to be in a panic.

With this one move, Microsoft has the potential to drive search traffic away from Google and repeat past successes against Apple, Sun Microsystems and Netscape. It feels like the more successful efforts of a pre-Steve Ballmer Microsoft, which seemed more willing to do what was needed to win.

This week, let’s find out what AI-powered Bing and Edge mean for search — and how Microsoft is taking on Google. Then we’ll end with my product of the week: Lenovo’s 30th anniversary ThinkPad.

Generative AI Advantage

In search mode, this means you can fully describe what you want, rather than trying to pretend you know boolean logic.

For example, I asked the new Bing, “Which James Bond movie has the most gadgets and is the most fun to watch?” And the service recommended “Thunderball”, which has the top-ranked Bond gadget and ranked sixth in popularity.

If you put that same query into Google, you’ll only get articles ranking Bond movies. In Google, you have to spend time asking additional questions to arrive at the same answer. Perhaps.

With chat activated (currently, chat is by invitation only as we try to make the chat application say things that embarrass Microsoft and then report what we’ve done on social media), you can refine You can interact with the tool to view your results and help you write them if you want to go further.

Judging by the quality of the answer Bing gave me, it was better than what I would have answered if I had been asked the same question – and it’s only getting better with time. I’d pick “Goldfinger”, forgetting that even though “Goldfinger” is ranked #1, “Thunderball” has most of the gadgets of “Goldfinger” and a ton more besides.

Along with the jet pack, “Thunderball” should rank near the top in both quality (the jet pack) and quantity (due to all the unique underwater and tracking gear). So, I can see that “Thunderball” was a better choice I would have made myself.

I mentioned that chat gets better with Bing turned on; Instead of doing additional searches, you can interact with the search tool to refine your request. This will allow you to refine your search by adding additional arguments even after the chat is closed; It doesn’t help you underestimate the initial usefulness of the tool.

It is my firm belief that, once you get comfortable talking with a computer, as we have abandoned “command line” interfaces for GUIs, we can move away from Boolean logic questions in favor of plain language interfaces. Will give up and eventually either combine or replace the GUI. speech interface.

why google is bad

The problem for Google is twofold.

First of all, it looks like Microsoft made the same mistake with search by treating its IE browser like a cash cow that requires no investment. Google’s other big problem is that the switching cost between Google and Bing is almost non-existent. If enough people move from Google to Bing, Google is screwed because there’s no solid mechanism to bring users back until it can match Microsoft before habits are formed.

This means that Google should have a comparable solution on the market that is fast enough to prevent migration to the more advanced Microsoft platform. While Google is clearly in a panic, it’s nowhere near where it needs to be. Unlike Microsoft, which makes most of its money from selling or renting things rather than from advertising revenue, Google’s revenue is tightly tied to search. If it loses its near-monopoly, it will be painful. Will be very sad.

Google is the established vendor, which means it has home court advantage in this fight, but with low switching costs and even a few weeks of usage, it could lose its installed base. Given how easy it is to try Bing, the ability (not just the announcement) to prevent users from making the switch before the same capability is provided is too weak.

Google can do what Steve Jobs and Apple do in their sleep and dislike generative AI and ChatGPT until it catches up. But Google is not a marketing-focused company. Considering how much of its revenue comes from advertising, I think it’s ironic because it should be really good at paying the bills. Sadly, Google is not. Even if it were, its history of selling user information means that Microsoft’s effort to tank FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt), its biggest lever, would backfire badly.

So, it appears that Google is triple-screwed. It has no counter-offer in the market, it doesn’t have the marketing potential for the FUD Microsoft offering, and it’s already considered less secure than Microsoft’s, which means it’s going to deter people from trying. Can’t use any security logic effectively. product.

Conclusion: The Surprising Return of Microsoft

When I started covering Microsoft in the early ’90s, it seemed like it could do nothing wrong. It rolled over Apple, flattened Sun Microsystems, kicked IBM’s butt, and helped put Netscape out of business. With the launch of Windows 95, it did the impossible by getting people so excited about an operating system that they were ready to buy it. An Operating System!

But then that century was over. Over the next ten years, Microsoft stalled with the Xbox, failed with the Zune, lost dominance with its IE browser, lost its phone business, and successively lost two CEOs. In the last decade, its reconstruction began. Azure was a huge success, Windows was vastly improved, and it fixed its tarnished reputation — and got out of some conflicting problems.

In this decade, the company has started looking like old Microsoft by competing with Google. Now it looks like Google is on the ropes, and Microsoft has the edge (pun intended). Execution will be key, but Microsoft has been executing very well of late. Suddenly, Generative AI and ChatGPT are trending positively, and Google is scared. This is going to be a very interesting decade. Nicely done!

tech product of the week

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 30th Anniversary Edition

ThinkPad Anniversary Edition represents the ThinkPad brand.

While Microsoft Surface products are closest to the Apple products in the market as a family, ThinkPad has a brand that is second only to Apple in terms of recognition and reliability. In a way, if you think of Apple as representing design-over-function, the ThinkPad is function-over-design. Put another way, the Apple is the sports car you drive for fun, but the ThinkPad is the pickup you drive for work.

Both brands have power and recognition (you can identify both product lines from a distance) but very different focuses and user experiences. Lenovo generally operates on lower margins than Apple, which means you usually get more for your money from Lenovo products. Until Lenovo recently went out of stock, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon 30th Anniversary Edition was a steal at $1,891.45 if you wanted the most secure, reliable, work-focused laptop.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon - 30th Anniversary Edition

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 30th Anniversary Edition (Image credit: Lenovo)

Thinkpads convey a professional vibe which means they arguably enhance your work related presence and potentially enhance your work related status just by being seen with one. Other brands, especially those that are more consumer-oriented, convey a less professional image that can detract from your subjective assessment and your business success.

In short, when you come out with a ThinkPad, people generally know you mean business. This is useful when trying to convey a professional image in anything other than animation or graphics, where Apple still has a strong brand.

Sometimes, you just want people to take you seriously when you have a laptop you can depend on. Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon 30th Anniversary Edition is just that, so it’s my product of the week.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.