Microsoft Adds New AI-powered Features And Reddit Support To Bing

Microsoft has added new AI-related features to Bing to make the search engine smarter. The software giant talked about the updates at a special Artificial Intelligence focused event in San Francisco, where it also announced collaboration with Reddit.

Making Bing search results smarter with AI

During the event, a Microsoft representative said that Bing search is actually used by a decent number of people whether they are aware of the fact or not, through partnerships with Yahoo. Further, the representative added that in the U.S. alone, nearly one-third of desktop searches are done on Bing.

Talking of updates, the representative said that Microsoft wants to make Bing more interactive, and the latest updates would help do that. New features arriving on Bing are: Intelligent Search, Intelligent Image Search and Conversational Search.

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Kristina Behr, a partner design and planning program manager with Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence and Research group said, “AI has come a long way in the ability to find information, but making sense of that information is the real challenge.”

Microsoft wants users to get accurate information even if they are not aware of the exact terms to be used for searching. With the update, Bing would prompt users to supply more information on what they are searching for. The company mentioned that it is using machine-reading comprehensions that run on Project Brainwave on Intel field programmable gate arrays to read, analyze and understand all the information before delivering the right answer across multiple sources. Further, it is also taking cues from bots like to guide users in their queries, notes ZDNet.

Microsoft is also infusing AI capabilities in Cortana enabling the assistant to sort emails and offer summaries of important emails from Outlook, Gmail and other accounts. Further, the company is also adding “skills chaining” in Cortana to enable the assistant to book tickets, and also add an event to a user’s calendar.

Making subreddits more searchable

Microsoft also announced a partnership with Reddit to include Reddit information to Bing search results. Now, Bing results will include conversations, communities and Reddit AMAs (Ask Me Anything) sessions. For a while, Reddit users have demanded an improved search option for the information on the platform, the majority of which is user-generated. Now, the use of Microsoft’s AI tech will help make the site better and direct more users to the old threads.

“All this amazing content is sitting there. As long as it is just on Reddit, we know we’re missing out on a much broader audience. We know there are people who are searching for this content, but now we’re providing them a world-class product to find it,” said Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian at Microsoft’s AI-focused Bing event.

During the event, one thing that came out clearly is that Bing is an important product for Microsoft. However, during the entire event, there was hardly any statement about Bing searchs on smartphones and how the AI features would be baked into it.

On Wednesday, Microsoft shares closed down 0.27% at $85.35.