On the query intent front, the Live Search team has invested in improving the services ability to read and understand queries in a way that more accurately determines user intent in spite of common problems such as spelling errors, punctuation and synonyms, so as to return the best results possible, he said.
With query refinement, Microsoft has been aggressive with regard to related searches and spelling errors, and this update brings auto-correcting, when it is secure about the user intent, and also offers suggestions about the query.
The update also brings a new machine translation feature where, if a foreign language result is returned, the user can click to translate the page, and both the original and translated view are returned. Also, as the user moves his mouse over the original text, it is translated line by line.
"This is an area where Microsoft Research has been doing a lot of work, and we are looking to get to a place where we can do multilanguage queries and the like," Nadella said.
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In addition, the new Live Search incorporates more user click-stream data to inform ranking and relevancy processes, yielding more relevant results across queries.
"We use a multilayered neural network ranking algorithm that is loosely modeled on biological neural networks and brains that can learn patterns that simple algorithms cannot," Nadella said, noting that his team is working on this with Microsoft Research.
Microsoft is also using its core search innovation work to extract structured data from unstructured text on the Web and power deep vertical experiences that update on the fly.
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This technology extracts from across the Web information on products, businesses—including locations, contact information, photos, hours of operation, ratings and reviews—and celebrities, including images and videos, he said.
Microsoft listened to users who told the company that they sometimes are just searching for a specific fact or answer. As a result, Live Search has an improved and more robust Answers platform, which provides specialized responses to queries about specific things such as weather, images, celebrities and entertainment, sports, and stocks.
This specialized content has been more deeply integrated into the main search experience to add to custom searches such as images and mapping. "We have nearly doubled the coverage of instant answers from 5 percent of queries this summer to 10 percent of queries this month," Nadella said.