Microsoft Copilot To Get New Features
- By Kurt Mackie
- December 06, 2023
Microsoft described new capabilities coming to its Microsoft Copilot artificial intelligence (AI) search tool, per a Tuesday announcement.
Microsoft Copilot (formerly known as Bing Chat and Bing Chat Enterprise) reached the "general availability" commercial-release stage last week, but this week's announcement described some new capabilities. It also declared that the Microsoft Copilot service, now popping up for some Microsoft 365 subscribers, has reached its one-year anniversary date.
Organizations may already be seeing Microsoft Copilot because Microsoft made it a default for eligible Microsoft 365 licensees, who get access to it at no extra cost. Also in effect this week is Microsoft Copilot integrated with the Microsoft Edge browser, which extends so-called "commercial data protection" for organizations using the Edge browser.
Microsoft Copilot is tied to Bing search. It's somewhat different from Microsoft 365 Copilot, which reached general availability last month and also has access to organizational data (via Microsoft Graph) on top of Web data.
GPT-4 Turbo and Updated DALL-E 3 Models
New in Microsoft Copilot are its use of OpenAI's GPT-4 Turbo model and an updated DALL-E 3 model.
GPT-4 Turbo, which purportedly can handle "more complex and longer tasks," will be coming "soon" to Microsoft Copilot. One of those complex tasks is enhanced understanding for Bing image searches, which happens via a "multimodal with search grounding" process, according to this Bing blog on Copilot AI. Microsoft updated its Prometheus model for this capability, which is its proprietary technology that "leverages the power of Bing and GPT to generate a set of internal queries iteratively through a component called Bing Orchestrator," per this Prometheus explanation. It's the newer Bing search data that provides the so-called contextual "grounding" within Prometheus.
The updated DALL-E 3 model, currently available via bing.com/create, is said to create higher quality images in response to user prompts. My prompt to create an image of "10 English bulldogs chasing three French hens" had whimsical results. Only square images get generated right now, and the application currently resists resizing the results, giving users instructions on how to do it themselves.
Microsoft Edge Compose and Rewrite
The Microsoft Edge browser, which interfaces with Microsoft Copilot via the browser's sidebar, will "soon" permit users to select text from a Web site and rewrite it or change it.
Microsoft indicated that it's currently possible to use the Edge browser and Copilot to "summarize or ask questions about a video that you are watching in Edge." However, I tried it, and Bing suggested that I needed to use non-Microsoft-built plug-ins to do so, so it's apparently not a capability that's built into Bing search.
Bing Search AI Perks
Microsoft is promising that Bing search will be able analyze images, such as identifying a space program and launch date based on a launch photo. That capability will be coming "soon."
Bing search also will "soon" be getting a Deep Search button. It's an enhanced search option that takes longer than a regular Bing search (30 seconds vs less than a second), but it's capable of offering more relevant results via its querying techniques. Millions of Web pages get searched with a standard Bing search, but Deep Search "does ten times that to find results that are more informative and specific," Microsoft explained, in this Deep Search Bing blog post. Deep Search is currently an experimental feature that's getting tested by "randomly selected small groups of users on Bing worldwide."
Microsoft is testing enhanced coding in response to Microsoft Copilot natural-language queries. Users will "soon" get a Python environment that "runs in a secure sandboxed environment built on top of Azure Container Apps." The queries can use "your own data and code as well as Bing search results."
This coming developer sandbox for Microsoft Copilot also will have access to popular dev tools that get used with data science projects, "such as pandas, numpy, matplotlib, sklearn, flask and more."
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.