MICROSOFT HAS ENHANCED its Bing internet search engine to enable more conversational searching.
The addition of context to searches will allow users to ask followup questions. For example, "Who is Zoey Deschanel?" will reveal a first set of results, but theoretically at least, "What is the name of her sitcom?" will keep the context and bring up results about "New Girl", and, "What is the name of her band?" will bring results for "Him and Her", all without respecifying the subject.
The addition of pronoun and context is an example of the kind of simulated artificial intelligence that makes virtual personal assistants like Microsoft's Cortana possible.
This week Microsoft revealed that it has successfully integrated Cortana into Windows Threshold, the codename for Windows 9, which might lead to the inclusion of Cortana in the final version. Microsoft recently showed Cortana humiliating Apple's Siri in a head to head challenge in an advertisement.
Yan Ke, principal development lead of the Bing Relevance Team, told readers of the Bing Blog, "These improvements build on extensive work we have done to build out the Bing platform including investments in entity and conversational understanding. This is a long journey, and we expect to deliver a number of additional improvements in the days ahead."
The INQUIRER tried asking, "Who is Bill Gates?" successfully, but the followup question, "What is he most famous for?" brought up information about graffiti artist Banksy, so there's still a bit of work to be done. Asking Bing, "How tall is he?" brought up the height of Brad Pitt. Go figure.
With Google continuing its commanding lead in the internet search engine market, its rivals are having to find ways to try to differentiate themselves. We tried the same search at Google, but it didn't work either. µ