Could Microsoft win even if it loses in the next chapter of internet search? That was the question running through my head at an event in Redmond, Wash., earlier today, where Microsoft confirmed reporting from The Information and others when it announced it will remake its Bing search engine using artificial intelligence technology from OpenAI.
The new and improved Bing looked cool—at my command, it composed a decent-looking 12-day travel itinerary for a trip to Japan—but it’s hard to say whether it will dramatically reshuffle the competitive landscape in search, where Bing is a distant No. 2 to Google. For one thing, Google could very well match the capabilities of Microsoft’s search engine. In fact, Google is doing its own event Wednesday morning to talk about how it plans to make search better with AI. The timing of Google’s event must be a complete coincidence (not!).