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Microsoft boosts AI across some its most popular products

(Image credit: Image Credit: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock)

Microsoft is adding new artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities to its Office 365 productivity suite aimed at simplifying complicated Excel spreadsheets, demystifying corporate Jargon and ensuring that its users never miss a meeting again. 

The company announced that it would be adding AI features to its productivity suite and to its search engine, Bing at an AI event in San Francisco.  Microsoft has decided to infuse its core products with new intelligent technologies in an effort to make AI available to everyone to help users create their best work. 

A new service called Insights will leverage machine learning to automatically detect and highlight patterns in their data within Excel.  This feature will first be made available in a preview for Office insiders that will roll out this month.

Microsoft will also be updating Word with machine learning through a new feature called Acronyms which will utilise data from Microsoft Graph to find and reveal the definitions of terms that have been used previously across both emails and documents.  Commercial subscribers of Word Online and Office 365 will be able to use this feature in 2018. 

In 2017, Microsoft added a number of new capabilities to Outlook to automatically detect trips, deliveries and schedule meetings.  The company has decided to expand this set of AI-powered tools by bringing Cortana to the Outlook mobile app to help users better manage their schedules throughout the day.  Now the app will send a notification which includes directions before appointments that will take driving conditions and real-time traffic information into account.   

Bing will also be receiving a number of new AI-driven features including Intelligent Answers, Advanced Image Search and Conversational Search that will help provide even more relevant results and improved search capabilities.  Microsoft also announced a new partnership with Reddit designed to bring information from the site's forums and community to Bing.  Algorithms will be utilised to read and analyse posts on the site and then the Bing will display this information right within its search results. 

Microsoft's decision to enrich Office 365 and Bing with new AI and machine learning features will be beneficial to its users and is a part of a growing trend across business to incorporate these emerging technologies into their products.  We will likely see more companies follow suit going forward as AI for everyone (opens in new tab) becomes a reality. 

Image Credit: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.