ChatGPT vs. Bing Chat: What's the Best Generative AI Chatbot? – MUO – MakeUseOf

ChatGPT is making waves, but Microsoft’s Bing Chat is also impressive. What should you use?
Bing Chat and ChatGPT are the two public faces of artificial intelligence chatbots. Although the generative AI tools are similar and both use OpenAI's GPT AI model, distinct differences exist between the two.
As more platforms adopt GPT, the diversity of the technology will widen. So, looking at the early adopters and identifying how they're already differentiating is interesting.
So, what's the difference between Microsoft's Bing Chat and OpenAI's ChatGPT, and which generative AI chatbot should you use?
The first difference between Bing Chat and ChatGPT is in how you access each tool.
To access Bing Chat, you need the latest version of Microsoft Edge and have it logged onto a Microsoft account. Your computer should automatically update Edge to the latest version, but there are some ways you can force Windows to update if it doesn't.
Once this is done, you will see a prompt similar to the one below. The Bing Chat waiting list is now discontinued, but you may still see a prompt. The next step is to press the Chat now button, and that's it!
The process with ChatGPT is even simpler. First, you will need to create an OpenAI account. Once created, you can use ChatGPT from any supported browser. This multi-browser compatibility marks the first notable difference. Bing Chat does offer a form of multi-browser support but with limited functionality.
One of the fundamental differences between the chatbots is the language model they use. Currently, free ChatGPT users are restricted to GPT-3.5, with the much-hyped GPT-4 only available to premium users.
Bing Chat uses the latest version of the language model, GPT-4. However, there are some key differences between GPT-4 and GPT-3.5:
Both have levels of creativity that are testimony to the heights that AI has reached. However, creativity is a difficult metric to measure, and the tests we tried showed GPT-3.5 is close to GPT-4 in simple creative tasks.
For example, below is Bing Chat's effort at a simple limerick.
As you see from the ChatGPT effort below, both models can construct creative prose remarkably well.
Moderating responses that were factually incorrect or otherwise unsuitable was performed "on the fly" with GPT-3.5. In other words, it was a reactive strategy that acted after the horse had bolted. GPT-4 has safety measures designed into the model, meaning safety is more proactive. Where safety is a concern, Bing Chat technically has the upper hand.
The ability to process image data is also a new feature in GPT-4. However, this feature currently isn't integrated into Bing Chat, so it isn't covered here. The other major difference is the accuracy of the response. This is covered next.
Both platforms go to pains to make users aware that the models may generate responses that contain incorrect information. This is clearly displayed on both interfaces.
Bing Chat has a distinct advantage here. The GPT-4 model has the twin advantages of access to more recent data and multiple sources of information. By contrast, the GPT-3.5/GPT-4 dataset was cut off at the end of 2021, and though it has received some topical updates, it is limited.
Unlike testing the difference in creativity, testing this was easy. The results were comprehensive, with Bing Chat returning the most impressive answer to a straightforward question, "How many tons of plastic were recycled in 2020?"
The response supplied figures as well as links to the sources from which the data was retrieved. However, the inclusion of US plastic exports was slightly out of context with the question. We would hesitate to call this a glitch, but it does show AI's tendency to wander off-topic at times.
By contrast, the ChatGPT response was to admit its limitations.
The answer tries to provide estimates and other sources that could be referenced, but there are no hard and fast facts.
There are similarities across both interfaces, which reflects their shared pedigree. For example, both have a simple search box and offer the option to regenerate a response after providing an answer.
However, ChatGPT adheres more strictly to the traditional sense of chatbots by not providing prompts that encourage follow-up questions. In contrast, Bing Chat offers recommendations for further information with each search result and options to obtain more creative, balanced, or precise chat responses.
Another significant difference is that scrolling down past the "Chat" section of the Bing website takes you to the Bing search engine, which also uses GPT-4. This makes Bing Chat an excellent choice for hybrid searching, where access to search engines and chatbots is necessary.
For instance, if you're searching for a list of online resources, Bing Chat provides links to the listed websites, while ChatGPT compiles a similar list of results without links. Furthermore, in Bing Chat, scrolling down to the search section provides a link to pursue your search further.
As you can see, the response included links to the listed websites. Compare this to the ChatGPT response:
There is no straightforward answer, as both tools are incredibly impressive.
A good analogy is to compare ChatGPT to a blank canvas, with Bing Chat being compared to paint with numbers. Bing Chat will take a more guiding role to get you to where you want. On the other hand, ChatGPT leaves more to your imagination and relies on user input to reach a desired result.
In these terms, both perform superbly. However, there are plus and negative sides to both platforms that can help you decide.
Bing Chat is the best option for those looking for up-to-date information and to assist with follow-on responses. Thanks to its more proactive approach, it is also a better option if online safety is a concern. However, there are plenty of ways that kids can safely use ChatGPT.
The downside is the need to use the latest version of Edge. There is also a 15-chat limit per session with a 2000-character limit on searches, which may be restrictive to some users.
Despite ChatGPT using GPT-3.5, we still found it better for tasks like creative writing. GPT's blank canvas approach and heavier focus on "chatting" were more useful.
Additionally, the ability to run on browsers other than Edge may make it more appealing to some.
Ultimately, this is a case of choosing the right tool for the job. The beauty of this is that both platforms are free, so trying them both is quick and easy.
As AI chatbots become more widespread, the differences between these early adopters will only continue to widen. However, by understanding the unique features of each platform, users can choose the chatbot that best suits their needs.
Bob is a professional writer who has been writing extensively on technology topics since 2020, with a focus on AI, software, hardware, SaaS, and networks. Prior to becoming a writer, he owned and operated an IT firm in Scotland for over twenty years.
He currently resides in Spain and continues to provide valuable insights and analysis on the latest developments in the tech industry.