Bing Chat and ChatGPT are two of the latest natural language chatbots to become widely available, and both are competing for your attention and text prompts. Both AIs are based on similar language models, but there are some distinct differences between them, making the ChatGPT versus Bing Chat debate one well worth having.

If you want to play around with these two exciting tools, here’s everything you need to know to pick the right one for you.

Microsoft Edge browser showing Bing Chat on an iPhone.
Photo by Alan Truly

How do you use ChatGPT and Bing Chat?

Both Bing Chat and ChatGPT are available for general use, but the way you access them is a little different.

ChatGPT is widely available and accessible through the main OpenAI website. You can use ChatGPT for free once you’ve made an account, and there are ways you can quickly access it from your desktop or Mac, if needed.

Bing Chat is also available, but you have to be given special access. To join the waiting list, visit the official site and sign up. You should receive access in the coming days or weeks, as capacity increases.

Bing Chat is available on more platforms. Not only can you access it through the official website, but you can access it through Bing on any supporting device too. There are also integrations of Bing Chat in Skype, Teams, and the Edge browser. ChatGPT is available in Slack, and is soon coming to Discord.

ChatGPT is free to use, but there is a premium paid tier, known as ChatGPT Plus, which gives greater access to the tool, including GPT-4. Bing Chat is entirely free, but there’s a limit of 15 conversations you can have per day, and conversation length is also limited to 2,000 characters per prompt or response. ChatGPT has a character limit as well, but doesn’t currently have a limit on conversations you can have per day.

What language models do ChatGPT and Bing Chat use?

The current version of ChatGPT that you can access for free is based on the GPT-3.5 language model. According to Microsoft, Bing Chat actually uses the more advanced GPT-4 model, which was recently announced.

In theory, that means Bing Chat should be more useful. Just be careful you don’t wander into Wargames territory by playing certain games, as Bing Chat has been known to get a little existential at times.

Both ChatGPT and Bing Chat are based on the same fundamental language model, known as GPT-3.5. They have access to information up to and including 2021, which gives them a huge scope for responding to natural language questions, and with relatively up-to-date information. However, that can leave holes in their knowledge.

Bing Chat, on the other hand, has the ability to pull from more recent web sources. It has also undergone additional training to make it more capable of following instructions and completing more nuanced tasks.

A ChatGPT generated email.

What can you do with ChatGPT and Bing Chat?

The core function of both ChatGPT and Bing Chat is that they can understand when you ask them questions or make statements in natural, human language. Both services support a range of languages, though ChatGPT is more focused on English, where Bing Chat offers a wider array of non-English languages.

Both Bing Chat and ChatGPT can be used for research, asking questions that go beyond what traditional search engines are capable of understanding. For example, I used it for a recent article I wrote about Nvidia’s biggest failings, by asking, “What are the reasons for Nvidia’s largest stock value drops?” If it’s something you’d type in Google Search, you can also put it in one of these AI chatbots.

ChatGPT is particularly good at creative writing, so asking it to write something about a certain topic, or in the style of another writer, will result in a very credible attempt at completing what you ask of it. Do note, though, that ChatGPT cannot fact-check itself against multiple sources, so it can introduce errors with just as much confidence as it does statements of fact.

Bing Chat isn’t quite so good at type of writing, as it can’t provide such lengthy responses and is more driven by facts than creative endeavors. However, Bing Chat has a number of discrete modes that it can be switched into, turning it into a virtual assistant or a casual friend who will chat to you about everyday life. Being able to choose between Creative, Balanced, and Precise is fantastic, allowing you tailor your conversations more aimed at your goal. The one-size-fits-all approach of ChatGPT requires a bit more nuance and description in the prompts.

There’s also a hidden game mode, where you can play trivia, hangman and other simple games with it.

Is Bing Chat more accurate than ChatGPT?

The three conversation styles available in Bing Chat.

Bing Chat has the potential to be more accurate than ChatGPT, because it pulls from more recent information and relies on multiple sources of information.

ChatGPT is based on a singular source of data from its language model, so it doesn’t have access to more recent information and cannot cross-reference its responses to confirm accuracy.

Because Bing Chat is based on GPT-4, in theory, it should quite a bit more powerful and nuanced than ChatGPT. The early tests of GPT-4 in ChatGPT Plus have shown some promising results so far, such as one user’s success at creating a workable game of Pong in less than 60 seconds.

In terms of accuracy, the other interesting feature offered by Bing Chat in its “learn more” suggestions. Not only is this a more ethical and transparent way of displaying info, it also gives you somewhere to go next — more like a proper search engine.

Both chatbots have their place

Bing Chat and ChatGPT are new and very exciting tools with heaps of potential. They’re each better at certain things, with Bing Chat better at finding up-to-date information and acting as an assistant, while ChatGPT is more adept at creative conversations or helping with writing in a specific style. It can be great for prompts, or for proofreading something you’ve written.

Bing Chat is more readily accessible, with more companies partnering with Microsoft and OpenAI to bring Bing Chat to a greater number of services. ChatGPT is being adopted by a number of companies and services too, though, so both are likely to be more widely available in the near future.

When it comes down to it, though, the limit of 15 conversations per day will likely leave people turning to ChatGPT first, allowing for more exploration without needing to worry about using up your daily allowance.

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