Rita El Khoury / The Android Authority
When Microsoft announced that it was rolling out a new chat mode within Bing, I joined the queue almost immediately. But even though I was among the privileged few who got early access, I quickly found myself losing interest in the feature. From a practical perspective, ChatGPT provided longer creative responses and I had no interest in “jailbreaking” Bing to elicit an emotional response. For everyday searches, I still prefer the traditional web results list over the 200-word reading exercise.
That all changed a few days ago when Microsoft brought Bing’s Chat mode to mobile and gave it a voice. To my surprise, this small change was enough to get me going again. While interacting back and forth with a chatbot can be stressful on a keyboard, speaking aloud in plain English comes naturally. Moreover, it is something many of us are already accustomed to with Alexa and Google Assistant. But unlike those services, talking to the new Bing actually feels like I’m actually interacting with a knowledgeable virtual assistant.
The obvious benefit of using Bing Chat versus existing options like Google Assistant is that you don’t have to phrase your question in a specific way. I’ve lost count of the times Alexa and Assistant misunderstand me if I don’t phrase a command correctly. But even when these services fully understand what you said, there is a stark gap in the quality of responses when compared to Bing. Here are some Bing vs Google Assistant examples that I’ve come across over the past few days alone.
Bing’s Chat isn’t available to the general public yet, but you can join the queue to get access eventually. You can also improve your chances by downloading the Bing app and signing in to your Microsoft account.
Bing vs Google Assistant: Misspellings? No problem
Calvin Enkidi / Android Authority
Through voice input, I have come across countless words that virtual assistants can’t explain. If it’s not in the English dictionary, good luck getting an answer from Google Assistant or Siri. Now, I’m not saying Microsoft has done anything magical with speech-to-text, but Bing can certainly interpret the meaning behind an incorrect prompt.
Bing can skip misspellings, even when it’s a scientific name.
Take for example a recent interaction in which I asked if I could store my luggage at the Bangkok airport. Google Assistant simply presented a list of web links and said something to the effect of “Yes, you can store your luggage at the airport.” Bing matched this response and also listed four competing services.
So far, so good. But then, I followed it up with a voice prompt that didn’t seem to translate well to text — Bing heard “another airport” instead of “Airportels.” Even so, I watched Bing as it not only searched for the correct company but also tried a second search to include the site you requested.
If this happened with Google Assistant, I have no doubt I would have to rephrase the question or retype the correct name, defeating the point of using a chatbot in the first place. Bing’s ability to autocorrect isn’t a one-off either because I’m highlighting another example in the next section.
Is X compatible with Y?
Calvin Enkidi / Android Authority
If you ask Google Assistant a simple question, chances are it will find the right answer and relay it. However, it quickly unravels as your queries get a bit more complicated.
The other day I wanted to see if the new Hogwarts Legacy game would do well on my gaming PC. I asked Bing and Google Assistant way back and they both gave answers that seemed reasonable. However, the answers were actually very different from each other. What happened? It turns out that Google searched for the wrong Nvidia graphics card, even though I explicitly specified the correct one in my prompts. A small omission on the part of the assistant meant that the response was almost entirely unusable.
Google Assistant often misunderstands my intention, even when it hears the right words.
In the meantime, Bing didn’t misinterpret my hardware even though I gave it a more open prompt. Her response also included which in-game settings I should use to achieve the stated performance. Finally, it asked if I had a high-resolution display at the end of the reply—something I specified at the Google Assistant prompt, only to have it completely ignored. Google announced that you can continue conversations, but I couldn’t get the assistant to correct or revise his answer.
I also tried asking Bing about a non-existent graphics card and was able to autocorrect an RTX 3720 to an RTX 3070. Funnily enough, even if I google “RTX 3720”, the first results are for Taco Bell restaurants located in Texas (TX) with a number 3,720 units. Not sure why Google autocorrect is not showing up.
Moving on, Google Assistant relies heavily on individual sources when it looks at web results. When I needed advice on buying a TV to fit on a particular Ikea stand, he simply refreshed the product description. Accurate information, but not very useful or actionable.
On the other hand, Bing asked me for the screen size of my TV after researching the dimensions of the stand. He then told me that I would have a very small spare display with a 65 inch TV, which would make for a great fit. Needless to say, this is the kind of response you would expect from a personal assistant even if they are both reasonably good.
Bing vs Google Assistant in the kitchen
Since the first smart speakers and displays hit the market, Google and Amazon have marketed them as perfect cooking companions and, at times, as kitchen essentials. The idea is sound in theory—you don’t usually have time to type and scroll while you’re cooking. Despite this, I have never found helpers so useful in the kitchen. Sure, they can easily convert between units like grams, ounces, and cups but their usefulness stops when you can’t follow a recipe and need advice. And in real life, exactly this situation happens quite often.
Just last night, I was preparing a dish that called for a small amount of mirin, a Japanese rice wine. Now, I didn’t have anything on hand but a well-stocked pantry of Chinese ingredients, including Shaoxing wine. Can I substitute one for the other? Asking a Google Home Mini this question simply resulted in a disappointing “Sorry, I can’t help it yet!” Answer.
Smart speakers aren’t very useful in the kitchen, despite being marketed as such.
Meanwhile, Bing not only gave me an answer, but also offered a way to improve the substitution with less added sugar. I also asked what dish to bring, but unfortunately no further assistance was offered based on my response. Still, it’s a clear win for Bing in an area where you’d expect Google Assistant to shine.
In Google’s defense, I brought up Assistant on my phone and asked the same question. I pulled a snippet from one website that discouraged substitution and suggested using something I didn’t have on hand. While this is a somewhat divisive question and depends on the exact recipe, Google’s single-source approach certainly reduces its usefulness.
Artificial intelligence in your conversations
Besides enabling Voice Access, Microsoft also added Bing’s new chat feature to Skype over the past week. This is an idea we first saw in Google’s attempt at Allo in 2017 (pictured above). It worked well while it lasted, providing contextual responses, search results, and local recommendations from Google Maps within the chat. But the results never fit all that well—the card-style interface was always a reminder that you’re interacting with a search engine first, and the assistant second.
Skype’s new Bing integration provides a smoother experience, eliminating the disconnect of web results popping up in the middle of a chat. You’ll compile multiple results in plain English and present them in a chat bubble that doesn’t look out of place. It really does feel like the helpful chat assistant Google envisioned all those years ago.
To use Bing’s new chat feature in Skype, you need to add them to a group chat as you would any other contact. Your account must also have access to the Bing Chat preview.
Bing vs Google Assistant: An Unfair Comparison?
Robert Triggs/Android Authority
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: the comparison between Bing and Google Assistant isn’t entirely fair. After all, Google does not use a large language model like ChatGPT as its basis. And while I agree with that sentiment, interacting with Bing via voice was still a revelation.
For years, we’ve been sold on the idea of virtual assistants who can provide helpful answers and suggestions. However, most of them simply didn’t live up to the hype. Microsoft had to drop Cortana from the Windows 11 release after it fell short of expectations. Finally, the new Bing lives up to these promises and is not even tied to buying expensive hardware. The only downside is that you can’t ask Bing to control your smart home devices (yet, anyway).
Google Has A Rival Chat Feature In The Works, But Will Assistant Help?
We know that Google is working on its own competitor to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Bing, called Bard. But will it enhance the current assistant? Or will this new chat mode be limited to Google search? Knowing the company’s track record and the massive processing cost involved, I expect the latter. This will undoubtedly lead to a fragmented experience, requiring you to open a web browser to access Google’s full chat bot. So while I’m excited about any competition at all, I’m preparing to be a little disappointed already.
Would you ditch Google Assistant for Bing?
For now, though, Bing has almost completely replaced Google Assistant in my lifetime. I made it so that a long press of the power button on my phone would bring up Bing. Admittedly, it’s not a perfect replacement – responses can sometimes take a few seconds and I prefer Google’s text-to-speech engine, but the benefits definitely outweigh those points. And it doesn’t hurt that Microsoft Rewards still pays you for using Bing.