Microsoft shares the secret sauce behind its Prometheus model that powers the new Bing

New Bing on Microsoft Edge

(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • OpenAI demonstrated its next-gen GPT model to Microsoft in the summer of 2022.
  • Microsoft was impressed by the new GPT and decided to integrate it with Bing.
  • Prometheus is a proprietary technology from Microsoft that uses Bing and GPT to generate responses based on real-time data.
  • Jordi Ribas, Microsoft CVP of Search & AI, shared the history of the new Bing in a recent LinkedIn post.

Microsoft’s new Bing leverages real-time information and OpenAI’s next-gen GPT model to generate responses. The conjunction of those elements is the key to Microsoft’s proprietary tech called Prometheus. Jordi Ribas, Microsoft CVP of Search & AI, shared some of the history behind the new Bing in a LinkedIn post (opens in new tab).

Microsoft was shown a demonstration of OpenAI’s GPT model in the summer of 2022. The model shown to Microsoft was significantly more powerful than GPT-3.5, which is what powers the version of ChatGPT currently available to the public. The power of the demoed model drove Microsoft to find ways to integrate GPT into Bing.

One of the limitations of Large Language Models (LLMs) is that they are trained on a finite set of data. Specifically, LLMs often study data up to a certain point in time. That makes them useful for some use cases but prevents them from being an option for content based on real-time data. Microsoft overcame this limitation with Prometheus, which uses Bing data and GPT to generate answers quickly while still using up-to-date information.

“Selecting the relevant internal queries and leveraging the respective Bing search results is a critical component of Prometheus, since it provides relevant and fresh information to the model, enabling it to answer recent questions and reducing inaccuracies – this method is called grounding,” said Ribas.

Chart explaining how Microsoft's Prometheus model works
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Prometheus is also what allows Bing chat to show citations for sources of information, which is increasingly important as concerns arise surrounding how search engines gather information.

Ribas also shared that there was an internal debate at Microsoft about if the company should change the UI of search. One side felt that web search should remain the way it is while the other pushed for a chat-based interface. Ultimately, Microsoft decided to have both methods of search available and allow people to switch back and forth easily.