What just happened? Microsoft gave its Edge browser today a new tool called “Copilot”. Copilot is the AI assistant in Edge’s right sidebar. It is powered by Bing Chat, which Microsoft has not yet opened to the public. If you already have access to it, you’re good to go. Otherwise, you will not see these features in your browser.
To open the Copilot sidebar, click the Bing Chat logo in the upper right corner of Edge. Before you begin, you need to set the bot to one of three options – “Accurate”, “Creative” or “Balanced”. The settings are self-explanatory and will affect Bing’s responses to your queries accordingly.
You must also allow Bing to read the page you are visiting. Allowing this is optional, but if you decline the permission, you will lose some of the benefits of Copilot. For example, allowing Bing to parse a page allows it to summarize its content.
With the settings out of the way, you can start using Copilot. The Chat tab works as you would expect. Ask a question and get an answer in plain language. It’s like having Bing Chat at your fingertips instead of going through it website. Of course, remember that sometimes the chatbot is far from reality, like when he awkwardly gave The New York Times terrible advice on Exclusively Several Spanish words.
This is funnier in context. Yes, of course. Very detailed, accurate and organized. https://t.co/LoRXz0dlXh pic.twitter.com/jgE31TlYcy
– Austin Walker (@austin_walker) March 14, 2023
The Insights tab is a shortcut to asking Bing to summarize a web page, but it’s messy. It takes different keywords from the content and provides relevant links and information. Their usefulness depends on whether you’re looking for an actual summary of the page’s content or want leads to external sites you talk about more. If you want a brief overview, it’s best to request it in the Chat tab.
Copilot’s Compose tab is arguably more useful. Users can make use of it to create a variety of content. After entering a topic or asking Bing to write about it, users can set several parameters to customize the scope and tone of the material. Some tone settings include funny, informative, and professional, while the length parameter has settings for long, medium, and short. PCWorld notes that co-pilot produced About 370 words of transcription with long selection.
There is also a setting to adjust whether the material is intended to be an email, blog post, paragraph, or just a list of ideas. Again, be careful with what Bing spits out. Not always exactly what you want.
“Don’t expect the next great novel or poem,” PCW’s Mark Hutchman warned. “Bing’s copy is serviceable, what you might expect from a copywriter or student…professional writers probably don’t have anything to worry about.”
However, what Bing produces will be clear and “mostly accurate,” and best of all, it only takes a few seconds to generate the content. With some editing, a user can probably produce a single page of a website or article in a few hours or less.
The co-pilot can also produce applicable cover letters and other correspondence that can be easy to edit but difficult to write. Bing’s suggestion of a list of ideas is also an excellent way to break writer’s block.