Microsoft reportedly planning to introduce a Bing Chat offline mode feature. Wikimedia Commons

Bing Chat will soon allow users to turn off its search engine capabilities. As a result, you will be able to use it as a standalone AI-powered chatbot like ChatGPT.

Although Bing Chat is already powered by ChatGPT, Microsoft seems to have surprisingly decided to move forward in this direction. After trying out the new offline mode, the folks at Windows Latest said the new mode is as good as OpenAI's popular AI-backed model.

After the search integration was turned off, Bing Chat was able to generate faster responses. However, depending on the query, the AI bot switched between offering outdated and up-to-date information.

When Bing Chat was asked to share details about the latest version of Windows 11 as a test, the AI answered by saying version 21H2, while the correct answer was version 23H2.

To recap, Microsoft came under fire last month after Bing Chat inaccurately reported a ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. Moreover, an X (formerly Twitter) user recently showed how Bing Chat can be tricked into solving CAPTCHAs

However, the chatbot was able to provide an accurate answer when it was asked about the last time Russia invaded Ukraine. Bing Chat correctly noted that the invasion "began in late 2021" and is still ongoing.

This is a major sign that the Bing Chat offline mode has been trained using the latest data. To those unaware, OpenAI trains its AI models by feeding them large amounts of information,

On the downside, the data they use only goes up to a certain date. For example, GPT 3.5 Turbo's knowledge base is limited to September 2021.

Considering that it provided accurate information about the Russian invasion, it is safe to assume that this version of Bing Chat is a combination of different AIs, including GPT 3.5 Turbo and GPT 4.

Enhanced performance

Bing Chat usually searches the internet to find correct information about a topic to ensure it offers accurate responses. Microsoft sources told Windows Latest that the Redmond-based tech giant is working on a "no search mode" to meet the demand of users who prefer "a faster chatbot".

Details about the offline mode's official launch date are still scarce. Also, it is unclear how many people will gain access to it.

Nevertheless, the report claims it'll be made "available to a small group of users" first. It is expected to come in the form of a plugin called Search, which can be turned off to disable the search engine.

Aside from this, Bing Chat is reportedly set to get third-party plugins that will enhance conversations with the AI bot by giving it specific directions.

One of these plugins is called OpenTable, which will allow Bing Chat to provide restaurant recommendations. The other third-party plugins are Kayak, Klarna, Shop and Instacart. Regrettably, the Windows Latest report does not explain what these plugins do.

Is Microsoft taking a big step backwards?

Readers are advised to take this report with a grain of salt. The most notable feature of Bing Chat is that it is more accurate than ChatGPT.

So, if the search engine is removed from the AI bot, we will be left with probably a worse version of OpenAI's model. There are no prizes for guessing that people will not want to use a worse service.

Also, hallucinations are one of the biggest problems for AI chatbots, including Bing Chat. So, if Microsoft decides to roll out this update, it could turn out to be a major step backwards for the technology behemoth.

Meanwhile, other AI brands are sparing no effort to create models that have better accuracy. For instance, Samsung recently unveiled its Gauss Generative AI, which will be coming to the Korean brand's devices soon.