Microsoft Adds New Artificial Intelligence Power to Office 365, Bing Search

In the year since launching its artificial intelligence (AI) and research group, Microsoft has been adding a variety of new behind-the-scenes artificial intelligence capabilities to tools such as Office 365 and its Bing search engine.

The company unveiled some of those latest capabilities yesterday during an event in San Francisco. They include a preview version of Insights, a new service that automatically identifies trends and patterns in Excel spreadsheets, along with new intelligent search features for Bing. and a coming Office 365 tool called Acronyms that provides organization-specific definitions of acronyms in documents.

Yesterday, Microsoft also announced a partnership with the news aggregation and social media site Reddit that will provide Bing searches with relevant results from Reddit conversations and communities. Those results will include content from Reddit's AMA, for "Ask Me Anything," conversations with well-known figures from a wide variety of industries and walks of life.

'Useful AI for Everyday Life'

All the AI-powered enhancements Microsoft has been rolling out recently are aimed at providing users with "richer, more useful information," the company said. Compared to the early search capabilities of the Web based on finding simple facts and figures, the latest smart software features can help people weigh the pros and cons of more complex questions and even help them better identify the right questions to ask when they're uncertain about which direction to go in, according to Microsoft.

Those new capabilities reflect how AI is being increasingly integrated into other technology tools used regularly for searches, office productivity, communication, and other tasks, according to Jordi Ribas, Microsoft's corporate vice president in charge of AI products.

"AI has really been integrated into society for many years," Ribas said in a company news post yesterday. "Sometimes, people have been using AI for a long time and they don't even realize it."...

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