A virtual crystal ball? Microsoft's Bing Elections technology called the midterm elections, give or take a few races.
One company wasn't surprised by the results of last week's midterm elections in the U.S.: Microsoft.
Microsoft's online voting guide and resource hub, dubbed Bing Elections
, performed an admirable job of predicting the outcome of most of the races, the company announced. "We weren't perfect, but we are proud to report that we got it right in more than 95 percent of the races—and we did better head-to-head than renowned forecasters, including Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight," wrote the Bing Predictions and Elections group in a Nov. 10 blog post.
Bing Elections leverages Microsoft Prediction Lab, a social-enabled and gamified polling site, to create crowdsourced forecasts. "Your predictions are integrated into our crowd forecasts showing how likely certain candidates will win and other events will occur," states the site's FAQ.
Those predictions came surprisingly close to reality, Microsoft reported.
According to the company's data, Bing Elections was accurate in 34 of 35 Senate seats in the 2014 midterm. In the House of Representatives, it picked 419 out of 435 seats correctly. It also called 33 out of the 36 gubernatorial elections.
The site follows in the company's tradition of creating timely, themed online hubs that are based on the Microsoft search platform. Last month, while debuting Bing Elections, Derrick Connell, corporate vice president of Microsoft Bing, said that Microsoft's aim was to inform and engage the voting public.
"Politics aside, our goal with Bing Elections and the personalized Voter Guide is to arm voters so they can make decisions based on the most comprehensive and best information available," said Connell in a statement. Visitors can drill down and explore the political scene at the state level, including elected officials, key races and their candidates via an interactive map.
While not infallible, Bing has a good track record of picking winners. During the World Cup games in Brazil this summer, Bing correctly predicted that Germany would emerge victorious. In fact, it picked all 15 winners of the tournament's elimination rounds.
Those capabilities are being slowly incorporated into Cortana
, Microsoft's digital assistant for Windows Phone 8.1.
"For a bit of fun—we've also added predictions for ABC's Dancing With The Stars
into Cortana powered by Bing Predicts," revealed Microsoft spokesman Brandon LeBlanc today in a statement. Fans of the celebrity-packed TV dance competition can simply ask Cortana as they would a fortune teller.
"Just ask Cortana 'Who will be eliminated in DWTS,' 'Who is safe in DWTS,' or 'Who is in jeopardy [in] DWTS,' for this week and she will give you an answer! You can even ask her 'Who will win DWTS this year' to look ahead at what you might expect," continued LeBlanc.
Bing has more predictions in store for sports fans. In addition to NFL games, the company is turning its "predictive attentions toward the NCAA March Madness bracket, the NBA Playoffs, and more in the coming months," announced Microsoft.