Microsoft warns to revoke Bing access for AI chatbot data collection

The Redmond behemoth's Bing search index data is licensed to other web-search engines such as Yahoo and DuckDuckGo, among others.
Baba Tamim
Photo illustration: Microsoft Bing logo is displayed on a smartphone with a Chat GPT logo in the background.
Photo illustration: Microsoft Bing logo is displayed on a smartphone with a Chat GPT logo in the background.

Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images 

Microsoft Corp. has threatened to cease providing competing search engines with access to its "internet-search data" if they continue to use it for making AI products.

According to people familiar with the dispute, if such entities do not stop using Microsoft as the foundation for their own artificial intelligence chat products, Microsoft will cut access, Bloomberg reported on Saturday. 

The search index is an online map that a particular search engine can easily access while looking for outcomes that are pertinent to a particular query.

The Bing search index data from the Redmond behemoth is licensed to other web-search engines like Yahoo and DuckDuckGo.

With Microsoft's February integration of OpenAI's AI-powered chat engine into Bing, rivals swiftly started implementing the popular technology into their own products.

DuckDuckGo introduced DuckAssist, a function that employs artificial intelligence to condense the results of a search query. 

Two more recent search engines, and Neeva Inc., both of which debuted in 2021, have also introduced AI-powered search services, YouChat and NeevaAI, respectively. and Neeva's standard search engines employ Bing since indexing the entire web would be prohibitively expensive.

A search chatbot's data collection is similarly expensive and time-consuming.

Two clients have already warned 

Microsoft has informed at least two clients that were utilizing its Bing search index to feed their AI conversation tools is against their contract, according to the people who spoke to Bloomberg on the basis of anonymity. 

The Redmond, Washington-based technology corporation threatened to revoke the permits allowing users to use its search index, according to the sources.

Microsoft issued a statement saying, "We've been in touch with partners who are out of compliance as we continue to consistently enforce our terms across the board." 

"We'll continue to work with them directly and provide any information needed to find a path forward."

Smaller search engines would struggle to find an alternative if their access to Microsoft's index was terminated.

The only two firms that index the entire web are Microsoft and Google, and since Google has restrictions on how its index may be used, Bing largely replaced Google in other search engines.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and Twitter, may have recently increased his criticism of Microsoft for having a monopoly on the OpenAI ChatGPT technology that is fueling its rise against Google.

In recent remarks, the tech tycoon strongly criticized Microsoft's efforts to use OpenAI, which was intended to be a non-profit, for commercial gain.

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