Chatbot-powered apps are red hot right now, and some of the best known ones come from the very biggest names in tech: Google with Google Bard, and Microsoft with Bing Chat AI. And now you can experience Microsoft's offering yourself: it's now open to the public instead of behind a waiting list at Bing.com.
If you've already tried it, there's nothing massively new here yet: it's the same preview version as before. But Microsoft has a host of new features it's about to add that'll make Bing Chat AI more useful.
So what does it actually do?
Bing wants to be your thing for everything
In addition to the Bing Image Creator that's been causing much amusement for its image generating chops, Bing is designed to solve problems – problems such as what to make for dinner or find you fun things to do with the family.
Microsoft has announced lots of new features that we'll see in more detail at this month's Microsoft Build conferences including Bing Chat support for third parties, which will enable you to use Bing with OpenTable for restaurant reservations and Wolfram Alpha for data visualisations. You'll be able to ask the Edge browser for information about the pain you're viewing, and the new chat history will enable you to record your chats for use in research.
The idea is for Bing to be not just a search engine, but an action engine – so if you're looking for somewhere to eat Bing won't just help you find a restaurant, but it'll check availability and book your table too. Similarly if you're looking for something to watch, it can open your choice in a streaming app such as Apple TV.
In order to access Bing AI you'll need two things: a Microsoft account and the Edge browser. Edge isn't essential but some of the key features require it. It's important to note that while Bing Chat AI is now public, it's still a preview: expect weirdness and the odd incorrect answer while Microsoft irons out the kinks.