Microsoft’s Bing AI could be close to finally getting plugins, a feature that has been experimented with before, and which will make the chatbot significantly more versatile and powerful (at least in theory).
Windows Latest reports that the update to add plugins was rolled out to a “small” number of Bing Chat users this weekend, and the tech site was among those given access.
Note that it appears the rollout is only happening for those using the Canary version of Microsoft’s Edge browser (and Windows Latest only got the feature in that preview release, not in the finalized version of Edge).
We’re told that the AI currently offers five plugins to testers and you can choose three to use in a session. To change plugins, you must start a new Bing Chat session.
Windows Latest ran some tests with a few of these plugins, and the results seemed useful, with the OpenTable add-on providing some restaurant recommendations in a search.
Other plugins available during testing include Kayak, Klarna and a shopping add-on for purchase suggestions – we’ve already got you covered there, of course, especially for the upcoming Black Friday sale – but it may be the case that there are other plugins available during testing. plugins appear for different users.
Analysis: Faster and better
Ultimately, of course, there will be a slew of plugins for the Bing AI, or that’s certainly Microsoft’s plan, though they’ll no doubt be rolled out in phases over time. One of these will be the long-awaited ‘no search’ feature, which was implemented via a plugin not so long ago. (Allows the user to specify that the AI cannot use search content pulled from the Internet in its responses).
We’ve seen plugins previously (in August) during a limited test rollout, but they were pulled, so this is essentially a return of the feature – suggesting it could appear sooner rather than later.
Fingers crossed, and the good news is that Windows Latest finds these new plug-ins to be more responsive and work better than the old efforts (performance-related issues are likely one of the reasons the test plug-ins were removed earlier this year).