You’ve probably heard a lot about both Bing Chat and ChatGPT in recent weeks. And you’re probably thinking of using one or both. You should! Generative AI is here to stay and while it’s not something you can see yourself using long term, it’s definitely worth trying out these tools and learning a bit more about them.
Bing Chat is similar in some ways to ChatGPT. Microsoft is a big investor in OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, and uses the latest GPT-4 model in the Bing Chat backend. So there are certain similarities in the way the two work.
However, Bing Chat has advantages that, at the moment, ChatGPT simply does not have. Especially for beginners. I’ve been using both tools side-by-side for a while now, and there are four main reasons why a newcomer to generative AI should start with Bing Chat and not ChatGPT.
Bing Chat has the Bing search engine
Eventually, ChatGPT will have browsing capabilities. Some early testers may even try it now. But the most recent publicly available version does not have live internet access. In fact, the default version of GPT-3.5 has limited knowledge of the world after 2021. This leads to serious limitations compared to Bing Chat.
The Microsoft chatbot is connected to the Bing search engine. This means that it is always connected to the internet and uses it with whatever it uses GPT-4 to generate. When Bing Chat uses web search, you’ll see it says “search” and then the search term it generated based on your prompt.
This means you can almost always generate a response to something, assuming it’s content that Bing can touch. The images below show a simple example where Bing Chat succeeds with up-to-date information and ChatGPT does not. I used GPT-4 on ChatGPT to be as consistent as possible and the following prompt:
What are the next UEFA Europa League matches and how can I watch them in the UK?
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ChatGPT doesn’t fall completely flat as its information allows it to tell me which TV channels will be showing these games. But that explains why he can’t give me the rest of the information I’m looking for. In contrast, Bing Chat simply uses the search engine to fill in those gaps and present a complete answer. Bing Chat will also provide citations for its information, which ChatGPT does not, so there is no easy way for you to drill down further or check facts.
For beginners, this all means a much easier experience and less chance of frustration. Until you are comfortable with ChatGPT’s limitations as they currently are, Bing Chat is much more forgiving. And useful.
Built-in Bing image creator
ChatGPT is entirely a text-based experience. Bing Chat, on the other hand, integrates the Bing Image Creator, allowing you to generate AI art from a text prompt.
Bing Image Creator is based on DALL-E, another OpenAI tool, and one that is separate from GPT. You might expect DALL-E creatives to be requested in ChatGPT, but you’re wrong.
In contrast, in creative mode on Bing Chat, you can enter a text prompt and Bing Image Creator will be pinged to create four stunning artworks based on your input.
The images below show what happens when you enter this simple prompt in each:
Draw a cat in space.
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Bing Chat will kindly oblige, while the best ChatGPT could do with that same prompt described, admittedly in great detail, an imagination of that image.
Bing Image Creator is great fun, it’s free to use, and it’s another feature you get that isn’t currently possible in ChatGPT.
Bing Chat is more natural to converse with
Compared to Bing Chat, ChatGPT looks like a simple experience. It’s like something only nerds would be interested in using. In contrast, Bing Chat is almost user-friendly. When you load it for a new chat, you get a welcome message, while ChatGPT is just a blank page with an empty area to type.
But it goes way beyond that. Bing Chat has integrated voice search on mobile, while ChatGPT doesn’t officially support it anywhere. You can achieve this by using a third-party extension on the desktop, but it’s not the same thing. For newcomers, being able to speak naturally as if it were Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri is an easy transition.
But the best part about chatting with Bing Chat is that it gives you ways to continue the conversation at the end of each reply. “Quick engineering” quickly becomes a skill, but beginners won’t have the knowledge to help them iterate on their initial prompts and really get the most out of the chatbot. Bing Chat will offer some suggestions for follow-up questions you may have or, in the case of image generation, ways to improve the images.
Microsoft Edge and Sidebar unlock additional Bing Chat superpowers
Bing Chat and ChatGPT can summarize large documents, web pages, etc. and break them down into more digestible pieces for you. But when you use Microsoft Edge and the integration of Bing Chat into its Lateral bar feature, you unlock additional power and convenience.
Without having to leave the page you’re on, you can click open Bing Chat in the sidebar and have it summarize the page the way you want and generate key points. While you can do the same with ChatGPT, it’s not as convenient. Bing Chat lets you do this in real time.
I also find that Bing Chat does a better job as shown in the images below. Using this prompt:
Summarize this page and generate a bulleted list of key takeaways.
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Bing Chat wrote a summary along with the requested bulleted list, while ChatGPT (GPT-4) just generated the bullets. From Bing Chat there is a bit more information, as well as the previously discussed suggestions on how to further iterate on the original prompt.
Two great tools, but Bing Chat is easily the best for beginners
No one starts out as an expert. Until you’re comfortable creating prompts to extract exactly what you’re looking for from either of these chatbots, Bing Chat is easily the most accessible and useful for beginners.
The four topics mentioned here certainly don’t cover everything you might want to do with either, but at a basic level it does cover four important differences that first-time toe dippers will encounter. I use both daily, but Bing Chat is currently my preferred choice thanks to its added superpowers over ChatGPT.