Microsoft is getting ready to demonstrate how its new ChatGPT-like AI will transform its Office productivity apps. After announcing and demonstrating its Prometheus Model in its new Bing search engine earlier this week, Microsoft is gearing up to show how it will expand to its core productivity apps like Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the company is preparing to detail its productivity plans for integrating OpenAI’s language AI technology and its Prometheus Model in the coming weeks. The software giant is tentatively planning an announcement in March, highlighting how quickly Microsoft wants to reinvent search and its productivity apps through its OpenAI investments.
Microsoft is already using OpenAI tech for its Viva Sales emails. Image: Microsoft
The Information previously reported that GPT models have been tested in Outlook to improve search results, alongside features for suggesting replies to emails and Word document integration to improve a users’ writing. Microsoft announced a new generative AI experience in Microsoft Viva Sales just a week ago. It uses the Azure OpenAI Service and GPT to create sales emails, and it’s similar to some of the features Microsoft has been testing in Outlook.
While Microsoft’s new Prometheus Model (based on a next-generation OpenAI model) has already transformed Bing web searches, the next steps to integrate this functionality into core Microsoft Office apps and Teams will test just how confident Microsoft is in its AI work. Technically, you can already use the Prometheus Model inside Office web apps, thanks to the Bing sidebar integration in Microsoft’s Edge browser.
The new Bing AI sidebar in Microsoft Edge can already be used with web-based Office apps.
This sidebar includes a compose tab that gives you an early preview of some of the work Microsoft has been testing for Word and Outlook. Microsoft is also working on ways to generate graphs and graphics for PowerPoint, according to sources. Bing can already generate tables and charts for basic data, but transforming those into visual graphics for presentations or even for use in Excel is a logical next step.
Microsoft is moving quickly with this integration mainly because of Google. Sources tell The Verge that Microsoft was originally planning to launch its new Bing AI in late February, but pushed the date forward to this week just as Google was preparing its own announcements. Google then announced its ChatGPT rival Bard a day ahead of Microsoft’s event.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is keen for the software maker to be seen as a leader in AI, and counter any response from rival Google. In fact, he’s so eager to get Microsoft pushing in this direction that he arrived early to the company’s Bing AI event on Tuesday morning. While the event was planned for 10AM PT, Nadella wanted to start 20 minutes early. That left event organizers scrambling to start earlier than expected, with the event kicking off five minutes earlier than planned and Nadella appearing onstage two minutes before the original 10AM PT start time.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella appeared onstage early for the Bing event. Image: Microsoft
Internally, a number of Microsoft executives are confident they’re way ahead of Google with Bing AI and the upcoming integration into productivity apps. But they’re also wary, warning employees to watch out for rivals trying to disrupt their productivity businesses in the same way Microsoft is attempting to disrupt Google’s search business.
Nadella’s push for AI across Microsoft’s products is driven by the consumer response to ChatGPT. Analysts at UBS estimate that ChatGPT reached 100 million monthly active users after just two months. More than 1 million people have signed up for the Bing waitlist in 48 hours, and Bing was the third most popular app in the App Store in the US as of Thursday.
Microsoft wants to seize the AI opportunity throughout 2023, and unlock some of the features and power of its Prometheus Model that it hasn’t publicly discussed yet. Expect AI to be the big buzzword for the entire tech industry throughout the rest of the year, as Microsoft and Google kick off a battle for the future of search and AI.