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Microsoft Unveils New Artificial Intelligence Features in Edge Browser

By August 28, 2023September 20th, 2023Blog, Microsoft
AI in Microsoft Edge

Google Chrome is the most popular browser in the world with over 2.6 billion users setting it as their primary browser. With Internet Explorer not offering much to users in the past, it seems that many of them seem to have written Microsoft off when it comes to web browsers. But Microsoft has really stepped their game up with their new browser option: Microsoft Edge.

Not only is Microsoft Edge reported to be faster than Chrome, but with features like collections, vertical tabs, and shared tab workspaces, Edge has a lot to offer the average user. But one of the most notable additions to Edge that really sets it apart is “Bing Discover”. The side bar utilizes AI technology to answer user questions, help them compose ideas, and more!

Bing Discover can be accessed using Edge by clicking on the Bing logo that appears in a speech bubble at the top right corner of the window. This will open your Bing Discover menu that includes 3 different options: Chat, Insights, and Compose.

Chat

You can use the chat feature in many different ways. You can literally just start asking questions here- the more specific or complex your question is, the more useful Bing Discover can be. An example Microsoft gives is “What are some meals I can make for my picky toddler who only eats orange-colored food?”. It’s not that hard to do a Google search for “meals for picky toddlers” but when you add some specificity or complexity to it, it might be harder for you to sift through all those results to find what you need. Bing Discover does that hard work for you and can provide an answer to your question, eliminating the need for you to click through multiple different websites.

You can ask Bing Discover to write stories with you, tell jokes, and even recommend new books, TV shows, or movies. Bing Discover provides citations in the chat feature, so you can see where the information is coming from.

When you’re on a website, you can put the chat feature to use. This means you can use the chat feature to ask questions about that specific page. For example, you can ask Bing Discover to provide summaries of articles you have open, and even specify how long you want a summary to be. Once you ask one question, Bing Discover will continue to provide different follow-up questions that might be relevant to the topic or to your previous question.

If you’ve got the Bing Discover sidebar open while you’re on a webpage, you can highlight words, phrases, or even paragraphs and can send that portion of the text to the chat. Then Bing Discover will ask what you’d like to do with that portion of the text. So, you could ask things like “explain this to me like I don’t understand anything about this topic” or “what does this phrase mean” or even “translate this to Spanish.”

The chat within Bing Discover can be super helpful- especially when you’re trying to research something or learn about a new or complex topic.

Insights

So I asked Bing Discover chat what this tab does and this is how it explained it to me: “The ‘Insights’ tab in Bing Discover is a content-aware feature that understands the context of the web page you are viewing and surfaces related information.”

Essentially, using AI, Bing Discover can skim through an article or webpage, determine what the key topics it explores are, and then it can show relevant information to either expand or develop your understanding of these topics. It can link you to other websites and articles, and even provide additional facts and trivia questions on the topic you’re reading about. At the bottom of the “insights” page, you’ll find analytics about the page you’re on, like website traffic, how people found this site, and what its overall “trustworthy” rating might be.

The information provided under “insights” is going to change based on the website you are on; remember this was described as a “content-aware feature,” meaning what it provides here is dependent on what you’re viewing!

Compose

The compose tab in Bing Discover helps you create written things, whether that’s paragraphs, emails, responses, or contractual language- there’s a lot of different options to help you out!

When you click into the “compose” tab, there will be a space for you to tell Bing Discover what you want to write about. To get started, just put in a prompt like: “a cancellation policy for training services” or “a job description for a program manager” or even “an email to my boss explaining why I need a two-week vacation to the Bahamas.”

From there, you have options for what tone to use. You get some default options like professional, casual, or funny but there’s a plus sign (+) button you can click to customize your own tone. You can also select a format, with the options of paragraph, email, blog post, or ideas. And lastly, you can choose the length: short, medium, or long.

After selecting your settings, click the generate draft button to see what Bing Discover has written for you! Upon reviewing, you can always go back and adjust your prompt. Just make sure you provide different parameters and change other options before you generate a new draft. Underneath your draft, Bing Discover will also make suggestions on things to add or improve and there will be another plus sign (+) button where you can let Bing Discover know what else you wanted changed or added to your generated text.

User Tips

The features explored in the “chat” and “insights” sections not only work with websites, but also with PDFs you open in the browser. Opening a PDF in Edge allows you to get summaries, ask questions, and get linked to outside sources related to the PDF you’re viewing. Please keep in mind that because some PDFs are graphic heavy and may not always be accessible, Bing Discover may have difficulty reading the content in the order it was intended to be read, which may result in the AI providing incorrect responses.

The option “add to site” is available when using the compose feature and allows you to add your AI generated text to websites, including emails or Word documents in the browser.

Remember, anytime you use AI to help you, you must be critical of whatever information it provides. Check your sources, read what it writes for you before you use it, and don’t forget that AI is not meant to replace you or the need for human communication. Think of AI as just another tool to help you work more efficiently- not to do your work for you!

Jess Schneider, PEI

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