Executives, entrepreneurs and investors hope the chatbots will not turn out to be what the tech industry has seemed to churn out for some time now: a curiosity that falls short of big expectations.
There have been many: Self-driving cars that can't quite get the self-driving part right. Wearable technologies that still need a smartphone nearby to truly be useful. And crypto currencies that promised to change the world of finance but so far have largely been an asset for speculators.
Microsoft has worked closely with OpenAI, investing $13 billion in the start-up and supplying the billions of dollars in computing power needed to build its A.I. technology.
Microsoft declined to discuss the specific technology that underpins its new search engine, but it is very likely based on a widely rumored OpenAI creation called GPT-4, the successor to what the San Francisco company released two months ago.
The partnership is the "best bromance in tech history," Sam Altman, the chief executive of OpenAI, said in an interview.
Like similar services from start-ups like Perplexity and You.com, Microsoft's new search engine annotates what the chatbot says, so people can readily review its sources.
And it dovetails with Microsoft's index of all websites, so that it can instantly access the latest information posted to the internet.
The company also said that its search engine includes technology that was designed to identify and remove problematic content from the chat service.
Last week, Microsoft released its first A.I. integration into Outlook, its email service, with a tool that helps salespeople write custom emails.
In the coming months, Microsoft plans to release features with generative A.I. on average every week, said Charles Lamanna, an executive who oversees the applications that Microsoft builds for businesses.
He compared this new wave of A.I. technologies to the rise of the internet or personal computing. "Everybody is in a room with the lights out trying to feel what the heck this market and this opportunity actually looks like," he said in an interview last week.