RealTime IT News

Microsoft Soups Up Bing With WolframAlpha Data

Microsoft said Wednesday it is incorporating sophisticated mathematical models into its Bing search engine through a partnership with search startup WolframAlpha and, over the next few weeks, rolling out a slew of updated features.

"We're rolling out the first major release since the Bing launch in June," a Microsoft spokesman said in an e-mail to InternetNews.com.

In addition, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced it is combining its MSN Videos service with Bing to update Bing Videos service, meant to enhance the video experience while using the search engine.

"We are announcing a new version of Bing Videos that brings together the rich editorial content and programming of MSN Video with the Web-wide breadth and great search capabilities of Bing, to deliver a new online video destination that offers a comprehensive and faster video experience," Rob Bennett, general manager of MSN Networking Programming, said in a blog post.

New features coming with the update include localized weather and events along with a City Slideshow capability. Additionally, Microsoft is adding enhancements to existing features such as Bing's hover preview and shopping tools.

The spokesman said that the WolframAlpha partnership "will incorporate health and nutrition-related structured data" from the "computational-knowledge engine" into Bing's search results.

Founded in May 2009 by scientist Stephen Wolfram, WolframAlpha "is the first step in an ambitious, long-term project to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable by anyone," according to the search engine's Web site.

Microsoft launched Bing in early June, and has been gradually adding features since. Microsoft has seen a slow but steady increase in the search engine's use.

The company added ties to Microsoft's free Hotmail e-mail service in July. In September, Microsoft added integration of its Silverlight streaming media technology with Bing maps and photos.

In October, Microsoft announced a deal that lets Bing search users pull in Twitter updates in real time.

For users who are ready and willing to try out the new and updated features, however, don't get in too much of a hurry. The update is set for a phased delivery.

"Please note that all new features including the WolframAlpha integration will be rolling out to select groups and will not be fully available to our entire customer base for several weeks," the company spokesman added.