In addition to today’s release of OpenAI’s GPT-4, which is now confirmed as the GPT model running on Bing, Microsoft also announced that the stable version of its Edge web browser will now include the new Bing AI chatbot in a sidebar. The feature was first unveiled at Microsoft’s AI press event in February, but was previously only available as a developer preview, not a public release.
With today’s official GPT-4 release, Microsoft is shipping the feature, which it calls “Edge Copilot,” in the stable version of its Microsoft Edge browser.
The update reinvents the concept of the sidebar, which previously housed Edge’s “Discover” feature to provide users with context about the page they’re visiting. Now the new sidebar will offer an AI chatbot instead.
When users want to interact with the sidebar and AI features, they will simply hover over the Bing icon in the toolbar to open the sidebar. When not in use, the sidebar can be automatically hidden.
While open, users can take advantage of Edge Copilot, the AI feature that is capable of providing “intelligent suggestions and information based on the context of the web page and user goals,” Microsoft says.
As the company explained at its event, the AI chatbot had two main functionalities at launch: chat and compose. Together, these can help users do things like summarize lengthy web content, perform comparisons, or even create content in some cases.
For example, one of Microsoft’s demos had shown the AI summarizing a company’s financial statements, but unfortunately, it got the numbers wrong, it was later revealed. In another, a developer asked the AI to write a code snippet while looking for tips on Stack Overflow. The AI was able to convert the Python code to Rust. Microsoft even demonstrated the AI by writing a LinkedIn post after some pointers were given.
Today, the company suggests that AI Copilot could also be used to help users write better emails, search the web faster, and learn new skills.
The productivity angle of AI hasn’t been lost on the competition. Today, Google revealed how it’s incorporating AI into its own productivity solution, Workspace. His plan involves incorporating generative AI into every part of Workspace, including helping users write emails in Gmail, write and edit documents in Docs, build formulas in Sheets, capture notes in Meet, and create text, images, audio and video in Presentations. Microsoft is expected to detail its response to Google’s move later this week.
While the sidebar is the most anticipated new Edge feature, IT admins can block it. Microsoft notes that admins will be able to control whether or not users have access to the sidebar in Edge, an important consideration given that some companies, including Walmart and Amazon, now have policies against sharing sensitive company information with ChatGPT and other AI bots. .
However, the AI sidebar isn’t the only new feature coming to Edge with this release.
The company also says that it is rolling out a new experience to the Microsoft 365 tab of the Edge Enterprise new tab page. This will now include a larger version of the Microsoft Feed, which includes more productivity content and moves cards with important emails, recent SharePoint sites, upcoming events, and to-dos to the right side of the tab.
In addition, the browser will include several security mode enhancements and support for a new policy that controls whether or not the user’s browsing history is deleted when the browser app is exited.
Microsoft says that the stable version of its Edge web browser will be rolled out over one or more days. The browser is available for both Windows and Mac platforms.