Microsoft to enable developers to integrate Bing search data directly into their apps

Microsoft is updating its Bing search on Android app with the ability to automatically surface Bing search data inside third-party apps.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

The same way that it is integrating Bing data into Office and other Microsoft apps, Microsoft will be allowing third-party software developers to add Bing search data into their applications.

Starting this fall when the preview for Bing's Knowledge and Action Graph application programming interface (API) begins, developers will be able to surface Bing snapshots inside their apps. The idea is users won't have to leave an app to perform a search outside of that app to obtain relevant data.

To showcase how this might work, Microsoft is updating the Bing Android app on August 20 with some snapshots from the Knowledge and Action Graph. By long-pressing the home button, Bing will be able to read the contents of a user's screen and present that person with relevant information about a photo on Instagram, information about artists and songs on Spotify or other similar types of data without the user having to do a separate search outside the app.

(Google is implementing a similar feature with its Google Now on Tap feature it showed off at its developer conference earlier this year.)

Microsoft introduced a similar option inside Word Online late last year in the form of "Insights for Office." At that time, Microsoft explained that Bing's "ability to index the world's knowledge," plus its machine-learning-relevance models enabled the company to surface entity cards about many people, places and things.

Currently, Bing has information on more than a billion of these kinds of entities and more than 21 billion associated facts about these entities, officials said. Microsoft also has in its graph 18 billion links to actions and five billion relationships between these entities.

Developers interested in getting access to the Knowledge and Action Graph API can request access to the first test group by emailing partnerwithbing@microsoft.com. Microsoft plans to license the Knowledge and Action Graph API for free, officials said.

Microsoft already offers developers a number of Bing APIs for incorporation into their apps, including interfaces for speech, translation, search, ads and more.

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