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Microsoft has integrated Bing Image Search into its Office presentation app Sway, the company announced today.
The addition not only lets you search for images and add them to your Sways without leaving the app, but it also improves the app’s Suggested Source feature, which uses machine learning to surface relevant images based on the content you’ve already added to a given Sway.
For context, Sway launched in preview on October 1 as the first new product joining the Office product family in years. The premise is simple: Let users create presentations for the Web using text, pictures, and videos, regardless of what device they’re using.
Sway already lets you collect content from a variety of built-in cloud-connected sources, including OneDrive, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You simply navigate to a source, tap or click the content you want, and then drag and drop it into your Sway.
Nonetheless, Microsoft says users (particularly in the education space) have been asking about the ability to add Creative Commons licensed images. The Bing Image Search integration lets users do just that: search for content and then review any applicable license terms (Bing gained the ability to search images by usage rights in July 2013).
To use the feature, click the source dropdown, select Bing, type your query into the search bar, and hit Enter. The Bing Image Search results include a URL to the source of each image, which allows you to navigate to the original image and review the license terms to make sure your use is permitted.
You can expand your search by clicking the “Show all results” button, but Microsoft warns “you are still responsible for respecting the rights of others.” Just like with Sway’s other sources, you can simply drag and drop any image from the Bing Image Search results right into your Sway. Any viewer with whom you’ve shared your Sway can see the source of included images and applicable license terms by clicking or tapping the image to view it in full-screen mode.
As for the machine learning component, Bing integration helps Sway anticipate what content you might want to incorporate. Suggested searches use natural language processing to continuously analyze what you’ve written and show tags for related words or phrases you might be interested in.
When you see a tag you like, tap or click it to perform the Bing Image Search based on these words or phrases. This will give you the usual results consisting of images tagged with Creative Commons licenses.
Microsoft says “this is just the start of the machine learning and intelligence” it will offer with Sway. The company plans to make it even more personalized and based not only on content but “the user’s preferences and personality” as well. We will update you when we learn more.
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