Microsoft would be resorting to AI now. At a recent, special AI-focused event, held at San Francisco, Microsoft announced a number of feature updates to Bing, in all hopes that it would make results smarter by leveraging the company’s AI research, as well as a new partnership with Reddit.
The company laid out its plans or the ways it’s injecting AI-smarts into its Bing search engine. This Bing is a Microsoft executive rendered search engine and is actually used by a good amount of people, whether they know it or not, through partnerships with Yahoo. The company says that one-third of desktop search results in the U.S. are done on Bing.
The updates right now are focused on bringing more conversational, specific answers to users in the “cards” UI being used by competitors like Google. New features which have started to roll out today include Intelligent Search, Intelligent Image Search and Conversational Search.
To this, Kristina Behr, a partner design, and planning program manager with Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence and Research group, regarded that, “AI has come a long way in the ability to find information, but making sense of that information is the real challenge”.
Intelligent and Conversational Search is pretty much, only focused on ensuring that Microsoft stays competitive with Google in the integration of machine learning leveraged insights into search interpretations.
For instance, the search service isn’t applying this to some of the more controversial queries. For example, a quick search regarding marijuana health effects wouldn’t surface an Intelligent Search card, like the same for questions regarding some hot-button topics like abortion.
Intelligent Image Search:
Intelligent Image Search is a pretty interesting evolution, enabling users to dive into searches so that they would not only find a photo of a celebrity but also find more images of a piece of jewelry they are wearing. This works by just tapping a “search within image” button and thus it assumes what is the user exactly looking for.
With this, the company had also announced a partnership with Reddit to extract results from the site more effectively. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian announced that the two were collaborating for the more accurate integration of Reddit content more directly into Bing search results, seining information from Reddit crowdsourced AMAs and other posts into Bing. Now users might also ask questions to Bing like, “How accurate is HBO’s Band of Brothers?” and highly up-voted responses will be right there for the users on Bing.
To this Ohanian regarded that, “We see this as a new window into helping people discover new communities. We can make both of our platforms better as a result”.
The partnership is also focused on taking the detailed, highly-localized information and news from Reddit posts and then integrating it into Bing searches so that users with similar queries can be given more refined answers.
Bing might have a more established presence on desktop search but there was oddly little said about mobile Bing search and a confusion regarding the ways in which these new features would integrate into mobile browsers. Leveraging Reddit’s data could be a huge point in Bing’s favor, though there are few sources that can be just as capable of surfacing brilliance as controversy.