Artificial Intelligence

New Bing and Edge features give online shopping an AI makeover

Online shopping is in its generative AI era
By Cecily Mauran  on 
Bing chat on the sidebar of page selling headphones showing user reviews about that product.
Generative AI is taking online shopping to the next level. Credit: Bing

Microsoft's Bing search engine and the Edge browser now have AI shopping tools that work like your very own personal shopper.

On Thursday, the company announced(opens in a new tab) AI-generated buying guides, review summaries and insights, and automated price matching, giving users consolidated information about products that would normally take more time and effort to search for online.

The Bing and Edge shopping tools are some of the lates developments in the ongoing shift to a new generative AI era of search.

AI chatbots like Bing chat are able to address more complex questions that a traditional search on the World Wide Web doesn't address, also impacting how users interact with ads and online content. However, this approach is reportedly designed to provide more value and opportunity for publishers because it drives users to learn more from the original sources through links and citations.

Buying guides and review summaries highlight products based on relevant and popular information from across the web, meaning it's different from product advertisements that pop up in a traditional search.

Bing shopping feature showing user reviews of headphones in the sidebar
When browsing for a product on Edge, Bing chat compiles user reviews and insights to inform your purchase. Credit: Bing

When you enter shopping queries like "college supplies" on the Bing homepage you'll received an AI-generated buying guide that gives you recommendations of what a college student might need, product suggestions, and comparisons of similar products including details like specs and prices. Buying guides source information from articles, blogs, reviews, and product descriptions from across the web.

If you're already shopping around for a specific product on Edge, you can open Bing chat to get information about which aspects to consider and a summary of reviews from users. In the demo video, Bing chat cheerfully writes, "Welcome back! I see you are shopping for noise-cancelling headphones." Whether this is an official nod to the infamous Clippy assistant is unclear, but it definitely feels like an evolved version of its predecessor.

When you've settled on the product you want to buy, Microsoft's price-matching feature compares prices from retailers around the web and the price history, so you know whether now is a good time to buy or if you should wait for a price-drop. Microsoft has partnered with U.S. retailers that offer price-match policies, so if the price drops after you've bought something, Microsoft can help you get your money back.

Buying guides are available in the U.S. as of today, and review summaries are available today worldwide. Price matching will roll out to users in the U.S. soon.

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Cecily Mauran

Cecily is a tech reporter at Mashable who covers AI, Apple, and emerging tech trends. Before getting her master's degree at Columbia Journalism School, she spent several years working with startups and social impact businesses for Unreasonable Group and B Lab. Before that, she co-founded a startup consulting business for emerging entrepreneurial hubs in South America, Europe, and Asia. You can find her on Twitter at @cecily_mauran(opens in a new tab).

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