Bing Kicks Off Summer With Better Video Search, World Cup Predictions

School's out. Microsoft spruces up Bing's online video search and turns its prediction engine on women's soccer.

Microsoft Bing predictions

This summer, Microsoft is focusing some of its efforts on bulking up its Bing's video search capabilities.

The company has given Bing's interface a makeover, including a new layout aimed at making videos easier and faster to find, the company announced Friday. Now, users are less likely to reach for their reading glasses or pinch-to-zoom while reviewing video search results.

"We increased the size of the video thumbnail in our search results, giving an expanded view of the video and making it easier to find the video you want to watch," stated Microsoft's Video Search Team in a June 19 blog post. Search results now display supplemental information, including view count and upload date, before clicking on a video.

In a mobile-friendly move, related searches now appear inline. "When you hit the bottom of the page, you'll get even more suggestions and the option to see more video search results. These updates improve touch-friendliness and scale better to tablets and other smaller screens," they added.

Microsoft is also making it easier to hunt down the music video pertaining to summer earworms.

"When you search for a song, we display an enlarged thumbnail image, or 'hero', for that song," Microsoft's search staffers wrote. "The hero is chosen based on the top result and relevance to your search. The hero video will play in place or you can click through to the source of the video to watch it there."

For sports fans, Microsoft has trained its machine learning technology on the Women's World Cup games to predict the likely winners.

Last summer, Bing correctly predicted all of the final elimination rounds in the men's World Cup games in Brazil. Bing also correctly picked the Golden State Warriors to take the NBA title on Jun 16.

Now, Bing is predicting that the United States will prevail over Colombia in tonight's match with 84.3 percent certainty.

Walter Sun, a Bing development manager, and Cornelia Carapcea, a Microsoft senior program manager, noted in a June 20 update that Bing Predicts is already off to a strong start. The technology "correctly called the group winner in all six groups and 13 of the 16 teams which would advance. Further, all 11 teams we assigned [greater than] 1 percent probability to win the contest are still in contention," they wrote in a co-authored post on the Bing Blogs.

An unexpected tie between Sweden over Australia caused some ripples, but Bing is hewing closely to last year's performance, they said. And if Bing's prediction capabilities continue to stay true to form, the U.S. team may face a challenging road ahead.

"We predict that the U.S. will have a good run, continuing their streak of being the only team to reach the semi-finals of every Women's World Cup, but their match-up against Germany will be a difficult one at that stage," stated Sun and Carapcea.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...