This week’s news about Microsoft’s plan to add ChatGPT-like functionality to its Bing search engine sent its companion mobile app to the App Store’s top charts starting Wednesday. On the US App Store, the Bing app has reached 12th place among all free iPhone apps, while Microsoft’s Edge browser is now the #3 utility app. Globally, the Bing app saw a 10-fold increase in new downloads, according to preliminary estimates from app intelligence firm data.ai.
The movement indicates that there is considerable consumer demand for these new AI experiences, and users are even potentially willing to try new search engines and other browsers in order to access them.
On Tuesday, Microsoft first introduced the new Bing.com which included the highly anticipated integration of a new, next-generation OpenAI language model. The update adds a ChatGPT-like experience within the search engine itself, allowing users to converse with an AI chatbot to get help with more complex queries and to help select search creation tasks. content, like writing a LinkedIn post. Microsoft also showed off a new version of its Edge web browser with the same AI features built into the sidebar for easy access.
But while the new version of Bing is now technically launched, it’s still in limited preview at the moment.
Users who wish to try new AI features must first register on a waiting list. Microsoft said “millions” of users will be invited from the waitlist over the next few weeks.
In the meantime, the company has cleverly introduced a way to bump up its waiting list. On a landing page, Microsoft suggests users get to the new Bing faster if they take a few extra steps. This includes setting the default Microsoft search on their PC and scanning a QR code to install the Microsoft Bing app on their smartphone.
The latter clearly inspired the app’s rapid rise in the App Store rankings – and it’s been a spectacular rise.
Before Microsoft’s AI news, Bing was not a popular app at all. As of last week, for example, the app has been ranked #160 on the US App Store’s Productivity Apps chart – in other words, virtually invisible. It was not ranked in the US App Store’s overall top rankings at all. In less than a week, it is closing in on the top 10 in the US, as the #2 productivity app, at the time of writing.
If consumer demand wasn’t there, Bing’s app wouldn’t have changed that significantly, despite Microsoft’s efforts to download it.
Of course, it’s worth pointing out that App Store charts are susceptible to being manipulated by a rush of new downloads in a compressed period of time – which is why TikTok marketing that makes apps go “viral” is become so effective. Still, the movement of the Bing app is an interesting signal that demonstrates the demand for AI as well as the potential threat to Google.
Google already pays Apple billions a year to be Safari’s default search engine. But if large numbers of consumers switch to another web search app like Bing or Edge in order to try out new AI capabilities, Google could lose market share on one of the biggest platforms that consumers use to browse the web.
It’s also possible that a portion of new Bing app users think they’ll get access to AI features from the mobile app. To be clear, this is not yet the case. And while the app was recently updated, Microsoft makes no promises about using AI from that native iOS experience in Bing’s app store description.
In addition to downloading Bing, as requested by Microsoft’s website, some users may have also downloaded Microsoft Edge browser on their iPhone. Although the Edge app hasn’t climbed the rankings as quickly as Bing, it’s now #3 on the US App Store’s Top Charts for Utilities, a slight jump from the #7 position. which she occupied on Monday.
More precise figures regarding the total number of new installations may become available in the coming weeks. If so, we will update these numbers.
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