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BW Businessworld

Future Is Now | It's Bing Vs Google

Photo Credit :

Mala Bhargava
It's more than a little frightening that the big tech companies will already have the ability to know what's on your smartphone screen, anytime. The technologies that will make this happen include image recognition, so that not is text understandable, so are photographs and icons. In fact, Microsoft refers to it as Snapshots on Tap. This capability is coming to the next version of Android -- Marshmallow -- and it's called Google Now on Tap. It's the most interfering and most awaited feature of the system upgrade, in fact. But Android M is still a few months away.
 
Meanwhile, Microsoft has jumped to it and come up with a similar feature, available via its Android app, Bing. Or rather, it's beginning to be rolled out. Right now it just presents the Bing search box.
 
It occurs to me that soon one will have to choose between Google Now on Tap and Bing on Android, since you can't really have both fighting to read your screen and give you contextual information at the same time. And wait till Microsoft's Cortana joins the mix.
 
Meanwhile with Bing, once it's installed and you sign in with your Microsoft account, a long press on the Home button will wake it up and the app will have a good look at what you're doing and give you relevant information.
 
So, if you're looking at the title of a movie, it should present snippets of information about it. Or if you're looking at the photo of something well known enough to have a Wikipedia.entry, it'll pull that up. In time, like every other technology, it'll have collected enough information about you to pop up more relevant information. "The more technology adapts to you, the more you can be yourself," is the alluring promise of Bing.
 
Google Now on Tap is to do all that Bing does and perhaps more as it works inside apps, specially Google's own such as Gmail and search and maps, overly used much more than Microsoft's are on Android. This feature was introduced by Sundar Pichai several months ago. "You’re deluged with a lot of information on your phones," said  Sundar Pichai. "We have the biggest investment in machine learning over the last few years, and we believe we have the best capabilities in the world."
 
It's going to be an interesting time as these features, both with Google and with Microsoft develop but users should probably never lose sight of the fact that all that fancy machine learning is scooping up every bit of information about them. Although it looks like it's untouched by human hands, ultimately it affects the human -you-in ways you may not necessarily have  agreed to. 
 


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