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Microsoft Threatens to Cut Off Access to Bing Search Data

According to sources familiar with the situation, Microsoft Corp. has threatened to stop granting rival search engines access to its internet search data if they don’t stop utilizing it as the foundation for their own artificial intelligence chat programs.

The software provider grants access to the information in its Bing search index, a quick-scan version of the internet, to other businesses that provide web search services like Yahoo and DuckDuckGo, both of which are owned by Apollo Global Management Inc. Microsoft incorporated OpenAI’s AI-powered chat technology, a distant relative of ChatGPT, into Bing in February.

As excitement for the hot technology grew, rivals moved fast to launch their own AI chatbots. Google unveiled Bard, their conversational AI tool, to the public this week. Search engine DuckDuckGo, which places a strong emphasis on anonymity, debuted DuckAssist, a function that employs artificial intelligence to condense the results of searches.

In addition to launching AI-powered search services, YouChat and NeevaAI, You.com and Neeva Inc., two more recent search engines, did the same in 2021. These search chatbots seek to integrate ChatGPT’s conversational capabilities with the data offered by a traditional search engine.

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Because indexing the entire web is expensive and requires servers to store data and a continuous crawl of the internet to incorporate updates, DuckDuckGo, You.com, and Neeva’s regular search engines all use Bing to provide some of their information. Putting that information together for a search chatbot would be equally difficult and expensive.

According to the people, who requested anonymity because they were discussing a private disagreement, Microsoft has informed at least two clients that utilizing its Bing search index to feed their AI conversation tools is against their contract. The Redmond, Washington-based technology corporation threatened to revoke the permits allowing users to use its search index, according to the sources.

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Microsoft issued a statement saying, “We’ve been in touch with partners who are out of compliance as we continue to strictly enforce our conditions across the board. “We’ll keep working with them directly and offer any information required to find a course of action,”

Smaller search engines would struggle to find an alternative if they were excluded from Microsoft’s index. Due to Google’s restrictions on the usage of its index, only Microsoft and Google have complete web indexes. As a result, almost all other search engines use Bing.


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