New Bing has been available to a small portion of the general public for about a week now. I’ve been playing around with the new AI-powered chat feature for a few days and it works better than I was expecting.
If you’ve spent some time testing out ChatGPT, and were impressed by its capabilities, you’re likely to have a similar experience with New Bing. Unlike ChatGPT, New Bing has access to current crawl data from the web, with Bingbot being a key differentiator.
In this article, I’ll be providing some early thoughts on New Bing, details on how I was able to get early access, its speed compared to ChatGPT, first-hand experience with indexing speed, along with its ability to compete with Google.
Over the past week, I’ve been seeing a lot of people wondering how they can get early access to New Bing. The only answer provided by Microsoft relates to downloading Edge and installing the mobile app.
I completed both of these tasks early on in hopes that it would make a difference, but it didn’t seem to help, and I was stuck with Old Bing. While I now believe these efforts helped with getting access, I suspect there were other aspects that helped.
In particular, the Microsoft Rewards that are tracked using the extension. I noticed that basically all users who were able to get early access had high points (above 500 pts) in the majority of cases. So I went to work on trying to increase my points.
It’s quite a funny system, and one of the many growth hacks that Bing has been known for, but all you need to do is complete searches and their daily set of Microsoft Reward tasks – which are intended to get you to search more.
I kept this going for a couple of days, and once I hit 600 pts, I finally received the email: “We’re excited to give you access to an early preview of the new Bing – your AI-powered copilot for the web.” If you still havent got access, give this approach a try.
Due to the caching of the response on New Bing, chat results are at least twice as fast compared to what ChatGPT is able to achieve, according to Microsoft Engineer Dominic Nguyen.
This speed increase represents a significant upgrade to New Bing compared to how ChatGPT currently operates, which makes a noticeable difference as a user.
While there have been major concerns regarding the accuracy of New Bing, I at least like that I can explore sources for information to either prove or disprove facts.
From an SEO perspective, I’m not only interested in the speed of answer generation (which is helped), I’m also interested in Bing’s ability to index new content on the web and present it within their Chat feature.
Part of my testing since New Bing was released involved asking the AI-powered chat the questions: “Does Brodie Clark like the New Bing?” and “What does Brodie Clark think of the New Bing?”.
One impressive facet of New Bing is its ability to crawl content published on social media profiles – a dimension of the web that hasn’t historically been presented well in Search outside of standard web search listings.
Since the limited testing phase of New Bing launched (with access to a sample of queries), I have been actively sharing my opinions on both Twitter and Linkedin.
To my surprise, New Bing was using all of this information to produce its own interpretation of whether I liked the new Chat function.
The biggest downfall of this answer was that I had not posted a detailed review of New Bing yet (which it mentions), and then it goes on to provide an irrelevant piece of information taken from my website.
So as a test, I went ahead and wrote a review of New Bing. The review went into detail about how New Bing compares to ChatGPT, Old Bing, Current Google, and also Bard. It was a balanced review with both pros and cons, but I liked it overall.
And within an hour of publishing my article, New Bing had now taken it into consideration in its answer. I was shocked. This happened a lot faster than I was expecting, and it did exactly what I was hoping it would.
After I publish articles on my site, I always pay close attention to how long Google takes to index them. It is normal for my site (and others of its size) to have articles indexed on Google within ~12 hours. And I have found that Google has become more picky with how long it takes to index and rank content for sites in recent years.
New Bing appeared to beat Google to the mark by several hours for indexing and surfacing my new article. There was a confirmed update to Bing’s algorithm recently (originally noticed by Glenn Gabe), which could have contributed to why Bing was indexing content quicker than it has in the past.
Aside from the speed of indexing my new blog article and including it within Chat results in an hour, here were some other aspects that I should point out based on the same sample queries provided above:
Overall, the above situation was impressive based on what I had expected from Bing Chat. Speed of indexing new content published to the web (and indexing in general) should be considered a core differentiator for Bing Chat over ChatGPT, so it is good to see they’re using this effectively.
As mentioned in my review of New Bing, and as Bing Chat has recognized in their AI result generation, I don’t believe AI Chat on its own is enough to dethrone Google.
It is my opinion that core organic search listings (10 blue links) still play a vital role in the success of a search engine. And that AI Chat should be considered an extension of this, not a replacement.
In the case of Bing, they still have significant issues with respect to their core organic search listing results. Issues related to the number of ads, differentiating ads from organic results, and also the prominence of Exact Match Domains to name a few.
If the release of Bard is similar to Bing Chat, you can expect users to remain in Google’s ecosystem. If Bard is worse than Bing Chat, a small portion (I would guess up to 10% of searches) will shift to Bing. And if Bing Chat continues to improve and Bing addresses core issues, then we could be in for a shake-up.
But for the time-being, I’m not expecting Google’s strong hold on Search changing any time soon for the vast majority of users with just the introduction of Bing Chat.
While Bing Chat has plenty of room for improvement, the initial release has been better than what I was expecting, and I commend them for that. Some of the key takeaways from my post include:
I’ll continue to keep testing out Bing Chat and documenting my findings. And once Bard is released, I’ll be sure to share my thoughts around how it shapes up to Bing.
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