At its Build developer conference, Microsoft announced that it is opening up a large amount of Bing‘s advanced functionality to software developers. As Microsoft corporate VP Gurdeep Singh Pall noted, developers are already using Bing APIs, of course, but apps can now use Bing’s natural user interfaces, optical character recognition and new mapping and visualization capabilities, which includes Microsoft’s brand new 3-D imagery for maps.


As Singh Pall noted, Microsoft has been using all of these capabilities behind the scenes already, of course, but he thinks that “if we can do something with an API that is good, third parties can do something that is dynamite.”Bing, he said, “is not just a great search engine, but the team has built some great capabilities.” Bing, after all, is pretty good at understanding user intent, unstructured content on the web and other queries and data types that are not trivial for a developer to implement. The team always believed that Bing could do a lot of things that can “actually be very valuable outside of the search box. For a long time, we have now thought that you could use these capabilities to create some great experiences.”

Developers will get access to much of Bing’s data, including its knowledge base and understanding of entities, web index and relevance engine. The Bing team has also worked on lots of natural user interface technologies, including voice recognition, which will also be available for developers to add to their apps.  The full list of the new capabilities for developers are as follows: Bing OCR, Bing Entity API, Bing Translator Control, Bing Speech Control for Windows 8.1 and Bing Text To Speech API for Windows 8.1, Bing Maps and Bing Maps 3D SDK for Windows 8.1.

Some of these fine features will no doubt fascinate the creative minds of developers and I envisage great things to come from these previously private tools now being made public.

[Image via beekays ]