Microsoft announces new AI-powered search features for Bing

Today, Microsoft announced a series of artificial intelligence-driven features for its Bing search engine to make it more conversational and nuanced. The news, unveiled at an event in San Francisco, means that Bing will make better use of object recognition, so-called machine reading (for parsing text and extracting meaning), and other techniques tuned and improved using AI training methods.

Search results will now show both multiple perspectives and multiple sources, culled from a list of pre-approved news sources, to show Bing users different sides of issues ranging from the benefits and downsides of kale to the pros and cons of contentious political issues. This builds on an earlier feature, announced back in September, in which Bing added fact checks to search results in an effort to cut down on misinformation, fake news, and other distorted stories from manipulative information sources.

In a new partnership with social news site Reddit, Bing will also surface information from subreddits right in search results by using algorithms to read and analyze the user-generated text across Reddit’s many communities. The integration includes AMA questions and answers populated within the search card for popular celebrities, AskReddit-sourced answers to broad service questions, and top threads for specific subreddits that will show up in search results just by searching the name of the community.

Another AI-powered Bing feature is a new conversational search function, powered by the learnings Microsoft gained from deploying natural language chatbots like Xiaoice and Zo and deploying machine learning algorithms on billions of text documents. The company’s search engine will now deploy a more advanced form of auto-complete to help users better phrase a query to get a more desirable answer on the first search. Similarly, Bing’s more powerful image search function, trained on object recognition models, will be able to better identify objects in photos, including products worn by people featured in the photo, and landmarks.

Conversational and intelligent search will both be coming to US Bing users in the next month, while Bing’s improved image search is available now. Microsoft is also bringing intelligent search to Office 365 products, including OneDrive and SharePoint, to let users search for text within image and presentation slides. The AI tools underly a new Excel feature Microsoft calls Insights, which will automatically highlight spreadsheet patterns the company’s software detects from the structured data to make it easier to analyze. These Office 365 features will be rolling out by the end of the month.

Comments

This is why Google cannot rest on their laurels. Microsoft has no problem going back to the drawing board until they come back with something compelling. Bing is improving.

Has been for a while and it’s no longer a money sink.

Other than Tay.ai, I think Microsoft usually does a really good job at dealing with Hate Speech and Fake News, which is their biggest strength. If Microsoft can build on that to improve Bing (including services like Bing Maps, which needs a lot of work), then it can give Google a good run for its money in the current political environment.

There are still humans working at Microsoft. Google has become an automated hellhole where it’s impossible to get in touch with a human being. Have you ever tried to contact Google, and not get an automated response? I haven’t.

The entirety of Google Play is automated. YouTube is automated. Google Maps is automated. Google Search is automated. News is automated etc. When things go wrong, which they often do, they’ll send an engineer down to check up on it, and that’ll be it. Just take a look at the whole YouTube monetization crap. It happens because there are no humans at Google/YouTube who actually control that things go smoothly – until the public cries out, and then they’ll do a few adjustments and call it a day – until next time.

Google is no longer the "friendly" and "quirky" company it was 5-10 years ago.

"…results will now show both multiple perspectives and multiple sources…" – you won’t be getting any perspective or different view points for political news at all, it will all be one sided. Obvious example, I wouldn’t see anything from RT in the top 2. Search results will be censored with AI just as Google does. AI doesn’t think for itself, it is programmed to achieve the desired results by humans with opinions.

RT is fake news. Who want to see Russian propaganda.

Choice is good <3 Love it

If iOS allowed searching Bing and Google at the same time from spotlight, I would want to give it a try again.

Partnership with Reddit

Ah, Bing. Cementing their reputation as the best place to search for porn.

I also use Bing Images for GIFs. Much better than Google Images, IMO.

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