Bing Chat new feature
Bing Chat introduced at a Microsoft event

Bing Chat is set to become more like ChatGPT with a new feature that turns off Bing search integration, allowing you to use Microsoft’s Bing Chat as a standalone AI, similar to OpenAI models. I’ve tried an early version of Microsoft’s ChatGPT-like standalone mode for Bing Chat, and it’s unsurprisingly as good as ChatGPT.

The current version of Bing Chat AI is integrated with the Bing search engine, which allows you access to the latest information from the web. On the other hand, ChatGPT’s knowledge is limited to its training data, which means it cannot help with newer information, but it is much faster than Bing Chat.

ChatGPT is generally faster than Bing Chat because it does not need to search the web for information. Microsoft sources told me some people prefer a “faster” chatbot, similar to ChatGPT, and it has been working on a new offline “no search mode” for Bing Chat, which would make it more identical to ChatGPT.

Bing Chat Search plugin
“Search” plugin in new plugins tab on Bing Chat | Image Courtesy:

According to sources familiar with Microsoft’s development, Bing Chat’s offline mode is available to a small group of users alongside the third-party plugins.

So, a few things are changing with Bing Chat’s user experience in the latest experiment.

By default, Bing Chat will soon use a plugin called “search” to “enhance your search with the power of the web including news, multimedia, shopping and more”. But when you turn off the “search plugin”, Bing Chat can answer questions without searching the web.

Hands-on with Bing Chat’s ChatGPT-like offline mode

In our tests, we noticed that Bing Chat is faster when Bing Search integration is turned off but gives much-outdated information for some queries.

Bing Chat with search off
Bing Chat without search integration appears to be using GPT 3.5 for some queries, which was updated in 2021 | Image Courtesy:

Microsoft may be using a combination of multiple large language models, such as GPT 3.5, GPT 4 and its large language model. This would allow Bing Chat to switch between different modes depending on the query, which is good, but this also means Bing may not be able to answer questions about all recent events or changes since September 2021.

For example, when I asked Bing Chat’s offline mode what the latest version of Windows 11 is, it said 21H2, even though the newest version of Windows 11 is 22H2 or 23H2.

This response was most likely generated using ChatGPT 3.5 Turbo.

Bing Chat search disabled mode

I tried asking Bing Chat’s no search mode if it used ChatGPT 3.5 Turbo or some older version, but it repeatedly refused to acknowledge itself as an OpenAI product.

Bing Chat using ChatGPT-4 without search
Bing Chat dynamically switches to GPT-4 when the search is turned off, providing newer info | Image Courtesy:

I asked Bing Chat some other questions, including world affairs. Bing Chat used a GPT-4-based model for this query, offering up-to-date information, similar to ChatGPT-4.

Microsoft also uses a GPT-4-based model for creative or informative responses, such as “Write a novel on dogs”.

Third-party plugins

In addition to ‘search’, the first native plugin for Bing Chat, Microsoft is also working on bringing third-party plugins to Bing.

Microsoft is testing five third-party plugins in Bing, and you can pick any three in a conversation, but you will need to start a new topic if you want to switch between the rest of the plugins.

The five third-party plugins include OpenTable, which provides some restaurant recommendations, Kayak, Klarna, Shop, and Instacart.

The Windows giant has not confirmed when it plans to enable first and third-party plugins for everyone.

About The Author

Mayank Parmar

Mayank Parmar is an entrepreneur who founded Windows Latest. He is the Editor-in-Chief and has written on various topics in his seven years of career, but he is mostly known for his well-researched work on Microsoft's Windows. His articles and research works have been referred to by CNN, Business Insiders, Forbes, Fortune, CBS Interactive, Microsoft and many others over the years.