How Bing Predicts Has Become So Good

Gavin Phillips 20-03-2015

The Microsoft Bing search engine has moved from strength to strength Greater Than Google: The Best Bits Of Bing When we think of searching the Internet, we without a doubt think “Google”. And why not? It’s a fantastic search engine and has some great features. But even before the idea of writing this article,... Read More .


Mooted as a valid challenger to the mighty behemoth of search, Google, many users quickly became frustrated with Redmond’s take on proceedings. Someone at Microsoft clearly took note. There was a shift in emphasis. It was no longer “Bing and decide,” as Microsoft decided “Bing is for doing.”

Bing Is For Doing

And so we arrive here, in 2015, on the back of Bing having correctly predicted the outcome of Superbowl XLIX, a glut of English Premier League results, around 95% of the US-Midterm Election results, and most recently nailing some 84% correct predictions for the Oscars, including Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Director.

Time to quit your day job Should You Quit Your Job? Use QuitOrNot To Help You Decide Tell me if this sounds familiar. One day, after sending out numerous resumes and attending job interview after job interview, you finally land that job you so desperately need. You settle into the work environment,... Read More and start gambling via Bing Predicts? Not quite, but let’s have a look at how Bing has become just so good at predicting the future Top 5 Sites With Future Predictions About The World Read More .

It’s a Numbers Game

“It all started with a snowy day”

Well, that is the gospel according to Walter Sun, Development Manager for the Core Ranking team at Bing. Noting the spikes in concentrated search terms before snowfall events, they could accurately predict the time and location of a snowfall event without checking the weather forecast. Bing Predicts was suddenly on the horizon and within a handful of months appeared on our screens.


Central to the success of Bing Predicts is popularity. Following the assumption that popularity will provide corresponding winners and losers, the Bing engine analysis a number of signals from across the web providing a “background” evaluation of each parties potential for success. The signals include, but are not limited to social media, social media searches, regular search, biases and regional trends.

And it worked. The first fully fledged, public Bing Predicts attempts was for “talent-show Hell Has Frozen Over: The Best Let It Go Covers of All Time [Weird & Wonderful Web] I personally think it's time to let Let It Go go. But, to achieve that impossible dream we clearly have to give this over-hyped song a fitting send-off. Read More ” American Idol. Bing ranked the 13 final contestants, accurately predicting winner Caleb Johnson. Success all round.

Different Rules for Sport

Predicting the outcome of sporting events isn’t so easy. Data generated GenerateData: Easily Generate Dummy Data In Large Volumes Read More by shows such as American Idol and the like can be funneled through enough basic metrics to make predicting the outcome a challenge, but still base it on popularity.

Sporting events do not work like that. Indeed, the English FA Cup is testament to this prediction problem where teams ranked significantly lower than their oppositions beat top-tier opponents. Even Bing could not see Bradford City defeat Chelsea 4-2 away (Bradford are around 60 places, and two whole divisions lower than Chelsea), or Premier League Champions Manchester City lose to second-tier Middlesbrough.


Bing EPL Predictions

That said, it does have a remarkably accurate record when predicting sporting events. Instead of popularity, sporting predictions are based on historical team data: previous wins, championship successes, previous form, historical results between clubs and more. As well as this, the Bing prediction engine also evaluates key player data for each team: top scorers, assists, possession, goals conceded and more.

Finally, it leverage’s expert opinions from leading news sources, and the predictions contained within those pre-game reports to provide a percentile fraction of the chance of winning. The prediction engine can build accurate projections of what’s to come in your sport come the weekend – but it also doesn’t hesitate to state an event is too close to call, rather than list it as a draw.

A Show of Data Processing Power

The whole prediction engine affair is likely to continue. After all, it’s awesome if your team wins at the weekend, even better if you placed a winning wager, and if all else fails it gives you someone else to blame your team’s performance on.


Bing ICC WC Predictions

For Microsoft, it is a not-so-subtle show of tech prowess Five Questions About Microsoft's "Project HoloLens" Microsoft's new Augmented Reality headset is very exciting -- but can they solve the fundamental problems of AR? Read More  to its nearest rivals Apple and Google. Microsoft can illustrate the sheer weight of numbers behind its Bing search engine through an exciting, accurate visual portal. It is competitive, and what’s more, the black and white approach to winner/loser/right/wrong helps validate our own experiences – or disproves them.

Bing US Senate Predictions

Microsoft researcher Stop Bashing Microsoft: 5 Ways In Which They're Awesome Microsoft doesn't always get fair treatment. When it comes down to it, they're a pretty awesome company. There's been enough Microsoft bashing, now it's time for some love. Read More , and serial predictor David Rothschild believes the prediction engine is “an interesting way to show users that Bing has a lot of horsepower beyond just providing good search results.”


Data is everything How to Become a Data Scientist Data science has gone from a newly coined term in 2007 to being one of the most sought-after disciplines today. But what does a data scientist do? And how can you break into the field? Read More . Even regular Internet users understand the translation of data to power, so Microsoft’s bold step forward with their predictions underscores the confidence in their own algorithms, and their ability to handle the data coming into Redmond.

Bing US Senate Results

I think he’s right. I’ve never been too wowed with Bing’s search facilities, and despite efforts to stand apart from Google results, I still believe Google Search is more powerful Bing Images vs. Google Images - Which Has Better Results? Bing’s image search once challenged Google, offering more features and a better design. With infinite scrolling and the ability to search for similar images, Bing was legitimately better than Google at image search just a... Read More . But in terms of attracting me to the portal, engaging with Bing and searching using that engine, Microsoft are on the right track.

Detracting From the Event?

Knowing the final score detracts from the event itself. Bing predictions of the Oscar’s winners soured the unpredictability of the Oscar’s judges. Seeing Tom Brady lead The Patriots to another Superbowl victory was undermined – we knew it would happen anyway. It is a fine line between reading all news before an event, guessing the outcomes with friends, and then watching something different unfold. Isn’t this the essence of some forms of entertainment – the “wow” or “omg” factor?

Bing Predicts 2015 Awards

Outside of the current populist approach, the Bing prediction engine could be used to help major social issues. Imagine what it would be like if we could predict the requirements for specific medicines and preventatives for a single area through the rate of search, or dynamically respond to predicted flow in production to save resources.

In some industries this is already the nature of the game: think energy and banking futures, for one. In reality, many industries are already implementing futures analysis. All good businesses have one eye on the future, and in many cases, altering production isn’t cost effective in the short-term.

If Microsoft can truly harness the power of predictions, and the big data associated with it I can see more visitors arriving at the Bing portal. And with more individuals interacting with the expanse of Microsoft online services Search Less & Learn More: Explore Online Courses, Books & More On Bing The Bing Search Engine is improving as a handy tool for education. In the latest update, Bing brings in two new ways to search for students who look to the Web for learning. Read More , there will be much to cheer in the near-future for Redmond.

You know, I think they might have predicted that…

What’s your take on the intelligence of Bing Predicts? Do you think they have a winner?

Related topics: Microsoft Bing, Web Search.

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  1. A41202813GMAIL
    March 26, 2015 at 4:41 am

    Do An Experiment:

    A - Chose Any Forum On The Internet,

    B - Post Some *Unique Sentence* There, And Write It Down Exactly On A Piece Of Paper,

    C - 2 Or 3 Days Later, Do A Search With All The Search Engines You Can Remember ( Do Not Forget To Put That *Unique Sentence* Inside "Double Quotes" ),

    D - Still Not Convinced ? - Then Go To ( A ), Again And Again And Again.

    GOOGLE Is Better Than All The Other Search Engines Put Together, Period.

    M$ Would Have To Pay Me A Lot Of Money Not To Use GOOGLE Ever Again.


  2. raj
    March 24, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Bing is a viable alternative. Stopped using Google after its Google plus Push in every turn.

  3. Carlos
    March 23, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    For me Bing is more aesthetically pleasing, and I use it as my main web search engine just for the rewards. But two times out of three I have to switch to Google to find exactly what I'm looking for. Bing has improved immensely over the years, but its search algorithm still has a long way to go.

  4. Thomas
    March 22, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    The linked article comparing Google and Bing is from 2012! Alot had changed since then. :) Both search engines have strengths and weaknesses and I flow between the two, but the user experience in Bing is better. I love the styling of the search results, the Bing image, and the reward points, which add up to real money.

  5. cg
    March 20, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Bing is amazing. I stopped using Google services all together and switched everything over to my Microsoft account. One thing I learned is that never get cozy with Google products. Google will one day just stop supporting it.

    • Will B
      March 21, 2015 at 1:36 am

      Me too. I mainly switched because I can earn points for searching and redeem it for Xbox codes. Then Bing becomes more powerful with translating languages and doing math from Bing search and it's pretty much the same as Google without banner ads. The only ads are ones that look like search results halfway down the list.