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Ads in Bing Chat? AI future of search sounds a lot like the status quo

Microsoft is already placing sponsored content within the ChatGPT-powered Bing Chat results.

In a blog post, Microsoft admits it is exploring adding advertisements to Bing Chat, which will be labelled as such.

In an example spotted by engineer Debarghya Das, Bing Chat responds with sponsored content from car dealers when users ask for the ‘cheapest Honda car’ for example. Yep, Bing Chat is already a used car salesman.

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The formatting may be different but it appears as if users may have to be a little warier as advertisements will appear within the natural flow of the conversation – albeit with an ad icon. Traditionally search ads have appeared at the top of pages or in sidebars, which users have become familiar with.

In the blog post, which is written for its commercial partners rather than users, the company says it is “encouraged” by early progress adding citations within the chats.

“The early progress is encouraging. Based on our data from the preview, we are driving more traffic from all types of users. We have brought more people to Bing/Edge for new scenarios like chat and we are seeing increased usage,” writes Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi (via TechCrunch).

“Then, we have uniquely implemented ways to drive traffic to publishers including citations within the body of the chat answers that are linked to sources as well as citations below the chat results to “learn more” with links to additional sources.”

Of course, very few people will be surprised by this development. It’s not as if Microsoft would have been seeking to claw back Google’s lead in search for purely altruistic reasons. However, the speed with which the company has commercialised the new discovery is quite telling when musing on its ambitions.

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