What you need to know
Microsoft announced Copilot Pro this week, which includes access to GPT-4 Turbo and enhanced image creation.
The name of Microsoft's AI-powered image creation tool has changed from Bing Image Creator to Image Creator from Designer.
Microsoft has moved away from its Bing branding, including renaming Bing Chat to Copilot with Bing Chat.
Microsoft made a major announcement this week with the introduction of Copilot Pro, which promises to "supercharge" people's creativity and productivity. While the unveiling and rollout of Copilot Pro is the biggest news of the week, Microsoft snuck out a tiny bit of news in its blog post about Copilot Pro. Bing Image Creator is now known as Image Creator from Designer.
Image Creator from Designer saw more than a name change this week. Microsoft promised faster performance, thanks to 100 boosts per day. The tech giant also added support for creating landscape images, which is a significant addition to the service. Up until now, the tool was limited to square images, which are fine for Instagram posts but don't fill smartphone screens or make for good landscape photos. Those improvements come with Copilot Pro, which is available now for $20 per month per user.
Notably, the name change to Creator from Designer affects both the free and paid versions of Copilot.
Moving away from the Bing brand?
The recent name change of Bing Image Creator to Creator from Designer seems to be just the latest example of Microsoft moving away from the Bing branding. Bing Chat was renamed to Copilot with Bing Chat late last year. Alongside that change, Bing Chat Enterprise became Copilot Pro.
Microsoft integrated AI into its search engine and rolled out preview support for Bing Chat in early 2023. Interest in the search engine went up in terms of media coverage, though Bing usage actually dropped year-over-year.
While there's a chance that Microsoft may just want to prioritize its Copilot branding, I think it's more likely that Microsoft plans to invest billions of dollars into AI across its products, and it doesn't want that investment attached to the Bing name anymore. Interest in AI is here, and too strong of a connection to Bing could hurt Microsoft.
The Bing brand has never been strong. Heck, it was a joke when Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man used Bing in The Amazing Spider-Man. In The Amazing Spider-man 2, the hero had switched to Google. Obviously, that wasn't due to a fictional character changing his mind, but the fact that people joke about it indicates public feelings toward Bing.
Go look through Microsoft's blog post about Copilot Pro but before you do, guess how many times Bing is mentioned. The answer is once, and that single mention is when Microsoft stated the name change to Image Creator from Designer.
When Microsoft renamed Bing Chat to Copilot with Bing, it claimed that "Bing remains a prominent brand and technology powering many Copilot experiences while continuing to be a leader in the search industry." A Microsoft spokesperson said that statement to The Verge in November 2023.
That statement may have been true at the time, but it seems Microsoft has shifted further from its Bing branding when it comes to Copilot and other AI tools.