During the Microsoft Build 2023 developers conference, the company unveiled several initiatives aimed at simplifying the development of artificial intelligence (AI) apps and copilots. Microsoft has announced that it will adopt the same open plugin standard that OpenAI introduced for ChatGPT, enabling interoperability across ChatGPT and the breadth of Microsoft’s copilot offerings and enhancing the capabilities of Microsoft's Bing Chat.
This strategic move by Microsoft will streamline the process for developers to create plugins and leverage the advanced features of Bing Chat, which is built using OpenAI's GPT-4. These plugins will enable Bing to assist users with tasks such as ordering groceries, finding housing options, and making restaurant reservations directly within the Bing chat window. The integration of these plugins will seamlessly span both business and consumer interfaces, empowering developers to deliver enhanced user experiences.
According to Kevin Scott, Microsoft's chief technology officer, a plugin enables copilots or AI systems to manifest new capabilities by connecting them to data and systems built by developers. He envisions the emergence of a robust ecosystem of plugins that will extend the functionality of AI systems.
In addition to the previously announced plugins from OpenTable and Wolfram Alpha, Bing is now incorporating plugins from Zillow, Klarna, Instacart, Kayak, Redfin, and more. This integration will grant Bing Chat users direct access to these services without leaving the chat environment.
Developers create plugins as bridges between information sources and AI systems, enabling copilots to fetch real-time data, incorporate proprietary business information, perform complex computations, and execute actions on behalf of users. By adopting the same plugin standard as ChatGPT, Microsoft ensures interoperability between ChatGPT and its suite of Copilot programs, including Dynamics 365 Copilot, Microsoft 365 Copilot, and Windows Copilot.
Microsoft also revealed the expansion of its Copilot programs, with Copilot in Power BI and Copilot in Power Pages currently in the preview stage. Furthermore, Copilot in Microsoft Fabric and Windows Copilot will soon be available for preview as well.
Microsoft's vision is to make copilot development accessible to all developers, not just a select few. Scott expressed his belief that, in the years to come, this approach will become the expected norm for all software.
With the extension of plugin capabilities to Copilot, Microsoft offers developers the opportunity to leverage Teams message extensions and Power Platform connectors within Microsoft 365. This empowers them to strengthen existing investments and effortlessly create new plugins using the Microsoft Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio.
Microsoft's embrace of OpenAI's ChatGPT plugin standard expresses its commitment to advancing AI technology and simplifying the development process for developers. By enabling the creation of plugins that enhance Bing Chat's capabilities, Microsoft aims to deliver a more seamless and efficient user experience, while fostering an ecosystem of innovative plugins that drive the evolution of AI applications.
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