Tag Archives: MSFT

GPT-Powered Search with Perplexity AI

For all its powers, ChatGPT has a fatal flaw: its training data only goes through 2021. Ask about anything recent, and it’s stumped.

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But a new tool lets you use the power of AI to find up-to-the-minute information. It’s called Perplexity AI, and it might be the best search engine ever.

Just a month old, Perplexity AI looks like a traditional search engine. But it uses AI to answer your question, instead of just providing links.

Its answers are pithier than ChatGPT’s — usually about a paragraph. And unlike ChatGPT, Perplexity cites its sources.

This helps us confirm the results are accurate. The lack of sources is a serious problem on ChatGPT, since it occasionally produces incorrect answers.

Let’s give this baby a test drive!

So Perplexity, how’s the market doing so far this year?

The answer isn’t perfect — it’s leaving off today’s return. But it’s accurate enough to be useful.

Meanwhile, ChatGPT is stumped:

Google doesn’t even seem to understand the question. It returns today’s performance only:

Let’s try something a little less time sensitive: what are the best selling albums ever?

Perplexity nails it, giving us a complete answer with excellent citations.

ChatGPT’s answer is restricted to US sales. It’s a decent response, but not as complete an answer as Perplexity’s.

In all, Perplexity seems better at answering questions than ChatGPT. But if you want to generate content, like a blog post or a screenplay, ChatGPT is the right choice.

Where does this leave search giant Google?

Microsoft plans to integrate ChatGPT into its search engine, Bing. Perplexity has already produced something similar, and there will surely be many more.

Meanwhile, nearly two months after ChatGPT’s release, Google has shipped….nothing.

If Google continues to stand still, its competitors will pass it by. And if people lose the habit of Googling, they won’t be back.

I remember the first time I used Google. It was so clearly better than other search engines.

Perplexity feels that way now. The results trounce Google, giving me a direct answer to my questions instead of a page of links.

Search meaning “a page of links” is dead. The question is, will Google die along with it?

What do you think of AI search? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

I’m off tomorrow, so there will be no blog. See you on Wednesday!

More on tech:

Google Books on Steroids with Allsearch.ai

Me vs. ChatGPT: Who’s a Better Blogger?

VC Funding Down 67% in December

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China Hacked Microsoft With Data from Previous Infiltrations

Microsoft Corp. and U.S. government officials are still working to understand how a network of suspected Chinese hacking groups carried out an unusually indiscriminate and far-reaching cyberattack on Microsoft email software, more than a month after the discovery of an operation that rendered hundreds of thousands of small businesses, schools and other organizations vulnerable to intrusion.

A leading theory has emerged in recent weeks, according to people familiar with the matter: The suspected Chinese hackers mined troves of personal information acquired beforehand to carry out the attack.

More here.

Microsoft Exchange servers run Microsoft Outlook, which is used almost universally for e-mail in corporate America. Having access to that is having the keys to the kingdom at almost any company in the country and many abroad.

So where did they get all this personal information? The evidence indicates that it came from prior hacks:

Among the potential sources of the personal data is China’s vast archive of likely billions of personal records its hackers stole over the past decade. The hackers may have mined that to discover which email accounts they needed to use to break into their targets, according to people familiar with the matter.

Chinese hacking is starting to operate like a flywheel: hack target A, get information, use it to hack target B, get more information, then hit C.

The Biden administration provided some wise guidance to Microsoft:

Microsoft has pushed its customers to install security patches over the past month, releasing a blizzard of more than 25 patches that covered the wide array of Exchange versions. At the Biden administration task force’s urging, the company also simplified the updating process for customers, releasing a “one-click patch” option.

I can’t help but think that this level of sophistication would’ve eluded the Trump administration.

With China increasingly aggressive in numerous ways, this could be a big opportunity for American security companies to step up and provide better protection. I’ll definitely be on the look out for network security startups that look promising.

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Photo: “Xi Jinping at the EP” by European Parliament is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0