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Dec142017

Microsoft Adds More Artificial Intelligence to Bing Search, Cortana, Bing Ads and Office 365

In San Francisco, Microsoft EVP Harry Shum, demonstrated how the company is infusing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies across its core products to help people deliver their best work everyday.

The new AI features announced today, include reimagined Photos app for Windows 10, new AI-powered Intelligent search features in Bing and machine learning, Office 365 AI capabilities helping subscribers discover insights from data, leverage organizational knowledge, arrive on time for events, and more.

Bing, Cortana and Office 365 are getting more features that Microsoft is categorizing as powered by AI. Here’s what’s coming:

Bing Intelligent search will answer concrete or factual queries with a summary gether from different sources of knowledge at the top of the results page. In case of multiple answers available, a carousel of summarized answers, will appear, saving people time from searching one blue link to another.

Here is an example screenshot of Intelligent answers:

To this end, Bing and Reddit is partenered today to bring information from the Reddit community into the bings’ search results from the 2.5M comments daily generated on Reddit.

Reddit on Bing

Another new feature, Conversational search a new interactive search that build on previous searches by a user to deliver best answers.

Bing says in the future search for specific topics like tech, health and more will be asked people to clarify questions to better refine their search. With this feature, Bing will help people to refine their search to get the best answer. It’s currently available for specific toics like tech, health and sports queries and will be available to more topic over time.

Conversational search is already powering Cortana and Conversational AI chatbots like Xiaoice and Zo.

An example image of conversational search:

Bing conversational search

Microsoft also showcased advanced image search capabilities in Bing, that leverages AI through computer vision and object recognition allowing people to search within an image to find related products. Bing detects and highlights different products within images or users can click the magnifying glass icon on the top right of any image to search within an image and find related images or products.

Bing also previewed a new feature that help explore the world. “If you find a landmark on Bing image search or use a photo from the camera roll, Bing will identify it and share interesting information about that landmark, such as the origins of the landmark and other relevant trivia.”

An AI-powered intelligent image search:

Bing Intelligent image search

New AI capabilities in Office 365, including:

A preview of “Insights in Excel,” powered by machine learning it automatically highlights patterns making it easier for everyone to explore and analyze data.

An animated screenshot demonstrates Insights in Excel:

AI-powered Insights in Excel

A new machine learning powered feature in Word called “Acronyms,” helps people understand shorthand that is commonly used in workplaces by leveraging Microsoft Graph to surface definitions of terms that have been previously defined across emails and documents.

Acronyms will begin rolling out to Word Online for Office 365 commercial subscribers in 2018.

Microsoft also extend its AI-powered tools in Outlook by adding Cortana to mobile app to help users stay on top of their day. Now, “when it is time to leave for appointments, Outlook will send a notification with directions for both driving and public transit taking into account current location, the event location, and real-time traffic information.”

Time to leave in Outlook is rolling out to iOS users in all markets where Cortana is available.

An animated GIF demonstrates the “Time to leave” feature in Outlook:

Time to leave in Outlook

Another ability in OneDrive and SharePoint that automatically recognize the content within images and detect whiteboards, screenshots, receipts, and more—expands today to now automatically extract searchable text from those images, making it easier to find a wide range of content, including receipts and business cards, using memorable search terms and without needing to know where the images are stored.

Text in image search is currently rolling out to all Office 365 commercial subscribers by the end of December, see the screenshot below:

find text in images with intelligent search in OneDrive and SharePoint

  • Insights in Excel is starting to roll out in preview to Office 365 commercial subscribers enrolled in Office Insiders, in the United States this month. Because this feature is powered by machine learning, it will provide increasingly advanced analysis as usage of the feature grows over time.
  • Acronyms will be rolling out to Word Online for Office 365 commercial subscribers enrolled in Office Insiders in 2018.
  • Time to leave is rolling out to Outlook for iOS users in our Insider program this month, and then to all Outlook for iOS users in coming months. We also plan to make it available in Outlook for Android 2018.
  • Microsoft Whiteboard Preview is now available for Windows users in the Windows Store.
  • Text in image search is currently rolling out to Office 365 commercial subscribers and will be available worldwide by the end of 2017.

Microsoft Whiteboard for Windows 10 devices is a freeform digital canvas where people, ideas, and content can come together. Microsoft Whiteboard is now available in preview from the Windows Store.

The reimagined Photos application leveraging AI in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update makes it easier to find all your photo or videos—searching by person, place, or thing. Simply click on the search bar and images of people from your collection will appear. You’ll also see places and things that are already in your collection.

Search photos or videos with AI-powered Photos app

AI-powered video creation tools in the new Photos app will automatically bring together your memories into a video for great storytelling complete with soundtracks, themes, and transitions. You can even ink on and add 3D effects to moving objects in your videos. Just draw and pin an arrow, circle, or another doodle, and it stays with the object while the video plays.

Once you get the photos creation right, you can easily export the file to in a variety of ways, including via email, online to social sites or tailor it for the big screen in a larger upload.

AI-powered video creation tool in Photos app

Share your photos using Photos app

The infusion of AI enables Bing to deliver intelligent and personalized audience targeting, campaign optimization tools and more customized ad experiences.

Bing’s In-market audience targeting solution uses predictive intelligence to identify people who have shown purchase intent signals across many verticals and product categories.

Through Dynamic search ads, Bing identifies searchers intent and dynamically creates an ad to take advantage of those searches and sends the person to the most relevant page on the advertiser’s site.

With auto-bidding, an optimization tool, Bing can fully manage customers’ bids in real time, based on a wide set of useful platform signals, optimizing an advertising campaign based on advertiser objectives such as enhanced CPC, maximize clicks, and maximize conversions under budget constraints.

Update 12/15: Microsoft makes it easier for developers to connect to Office 365 through the Microsoft Graph. “For Visual Studio developers currently using the Office 365 API Tools to create applications, you should plan to transition your apps to use Microsoft Graph to access Office 365 data directly,” writes the company.

Call to Action

  • You can use the Microsoft Graph Quick Start Guide to learn the quickest way to get started with Microsoft Graph for the platform of your choice.
  • Or, you can use the Office 365 Connected Services for Microsoft Graph if you have Visual Studio 2017 (version 15.3 or later) installed.
  • If your app requires SharePoint APIs that are not yet available in Microsoft Graph, update your code to use Microsoft Graph to discover your service endpoints.

You can use the Microsoft Graph Quick Start Guide to learn the quickest way to get started with Microsoft Graph for the platform of your choice. Or, you can use Office 365 Connected Services docs for Microsoft Graph if you have Visual Studio 2017 (version 15.3 or later) installed. If your app requires SharePoint APIs that are not yet available in Microsoft Graph, update your code to use Microsoft Graph to discover your service endpoints.

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