Microsoft doesn’t want its rivals to use Bing’s search index to power their AI chatbots, according to a report from Bloomberg. The company reportedly told two unnamed Bing-powered search engines that it will restrict them from accessing Microsoft’s search data altogether if they continue using it with their AI tools.
As noted by Bloomberg, Microsoft licenses out Bing’s search data to several search engines, including DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, and the AI search engine You.com. While DuckDuckGo, for example, uses a combination of Bing and its own web crawler to provide search results, You.com and Neeva also pull some of their results from Bing, helping to conserve some of the time and resources that come along with crawling the entire web.
Microsoft apparently draws the line at using Bing’s search index as fodder for AI chatbots, however. Sources close to the situation tell Bloomberg that Microsoft believes using Bing’s data in this way is a violation of its contract, and that it may choose to terminate its agreements with the search engines accused of misusing this information.
Although we still don’t know which search engines Bloomberg’s referring to in its report, DuckDuckGo, You.com, and have all introduced AI tools of their own. Last month, DuckDuckGo launched DuckAssist, a tool that provides AI-generated summaries from Wikipedia and other sources for certain searches. Meanwhile, You.com offers an AI chat feature that provides answers to users’ questions, and Neeva rolled out a similar AI-powered tool that generates annotated summaries.
“We’ve been in touch with partners who are out of compliance as we continue to consistently enforce our terms across the board,” Microsoft tells Bloomberg. “We’ll continue to work with them directly and provide any information needed to find a path forward.” It’s unclear whether Microsoft took action against any search engines, and the company didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment.
With more companies like Google introducing their takes on OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot, Microsoft likely wants to make its own search data exclusive to Bing’s chatbot. The tool is already powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4, the latest and most powerful version of the company’s language model, and is capable of answering various questions, creating summaries, generating code, writing social media posts, and more.