If you’re like most people with access to the internet, you use Google. For over a decade, Google’s search engine has been the definition of ubiquitous, so much so that we hardly consider the alternatives. To be totally honest, I hardly know my other options and I live inside a laptop.
That’s why it’s so surprising to find out that Bing — otherwise known as the orange-y search engine Microsoft jams down our throats whenever they get the chance — has been predicting the outcomes of professional sporting events with startling accuracy for the last two years. They even do fantasy football projections.
You read that right. Google’s loser cousin knows more about football/baseball/basketball/soccer/hockey than ESPN.
After going 15-1 picking winners in the 2014 Brazil World Cup knockout round, Cortana (the prediction algorithm’s formal name) went 178-88 during the ensuing 2014 NFL season — a winning percentage that was almost exactly the same as the wise guys’ in Vegas. “She” went 8-2 in the playoffs, thanks in large part to a team of MIT grads who built her brain. The real ace up her sleeve, however, is (drumroll) … you. Yes, you/we are Cortana’s consigliere. For real. You’re her Matthew Berry.
[Tech Insider] Bing also has access to aggregate data of what people are actually doing online — what they’re clicking on, what they’re reading and watching, how much time they’re spending on certain sites, and more.
“What people do on the web, what people say on social, speaks well to how they think, what they’re going to do,” Walter Sun, the principal applied science manager at Microsoft, told Tech Insider.
(Microsoft is quick to point out that all of the data the company looks at for Bing Predicts is anonymized and aggregate — it doesn’t look at a particular search connected to a single person.)
We’re not sure whether that’s awesome or terrifying, but we’re flattered knowing that an infinitely brilliant woman with such a sexy name is interested in what we have to say. Sup Cortana?
So far this season, Cortana has been correct 60% of the time picking winners straight up. Her Week 4 picks, below…