American multinational technology conglomerate Microsoft has thought of yet another plan to conspire a take on its arch-rival Google. Recently, it declared that it would start working with the professors from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur in order to build a system that can form the basis for a deeper and more meaningful search engine. Microsoft also declared in a statement that, “The new search engine could assist users looking for subjective information and trusted opinions”. The name of this web search engine is Bing which is owned and operated by Microsoft.

The reason behind this collaboration:

Even if the current search engine algorithms are great at working with fact-based queries and providing structured answers, they are surprisingly ineffective at answering subjective and personal questions. According to a report by IANS, Microsoft’s Senior Applied Researcher Manish Gupta collaborated with professors from IIT Kharagpur in order to conduct a study on extracting meaningful information from social conversations to help search engines answer social list queries in a much better by deploying artificial intelligence and machine learning.

But many a times, such queries, which are based on human experiences and personal opinions are not quite easy for a standard search engine to decipher and hence at several instances they fail to answer a bit complicated questions such as, ‘How to make small talk with new friends’, ‘People’s favourite memories from school’, ‘How does it feel to immigrate to a new country and many more’.

One part of the solution also included, the team using multi-word hashtags, basically idioms, from Twitter to conduct a detailed study so that the search engine could give more accurate results.

To this, Gupta stated that “While traditional search engines may struggle with such deeply human queries there are online platforms specifically tailored for personal opinions and conversations — social media. Twitter, specifically, has become a forum for people to create sustained online conversations held together by a common hashtag”.

According to the report, the researchers have collected around four million hashtags that had been found trending between January 2015 and June 2015, using an SVM (Support Vector Machine) classifier to conduct this research. Some of these hashtags were #foreveralone, #awkwardcompanynames, #childhoodfeels, and #africanproblems.

The company further added that “The algorithm used to conduct this study forms the basis for a better search engine for social platforms which can assist users looking for subjective information and trusted opinions”.