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Xbox Partners With Tel Aviv Video Discovery Startup Jinni To Power Video Recommendations

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After a successful pilot project, Tel Aviv startup Jinni, a provider of natural language processing-based video content recommendations, has been chosen by Xbox to power its Xbox content catalog recommendations over the course of a multi-year licensing agreement. Jinni wouldn’t reveal the terms of the deal, but it will bring their tech front and center to the Xbox and its show and movie library.

Jinni works by categorizing movies according to their “genes,” metadata which the service’s proprietary “Entertainment Genome” tech ascribes to film and video content based on mood, style, plot, setting and more that adds depth to the typical discussion of genre and broad categories. New movies get indexed automatically when released, with Jinni combing user reviews and sympses found on the web and parsing out the relevant data needed to build a kind of virtual genetic code for each. You can see Jinni’s engine at work on its website here.

In its Xbox incarnation, Jinni’s service will use the existing data it gathers from web sources with signals from Xbox users, like Microsoft’s Conversational Understanding technology, which allows computer systems to interact with users with a near-human degree of understanding via speech. This is key to Microsoft’s Kinect goals, and should help Xbox users find new video content in the most natural way possible using speech interface.

“The Jinni solution will be used to power discovery of professional video content, such as TV shows and movies, within the content selection pages,” Yosi Glick, co-founder and CEO of Jinni told TechCrunch in an interview. “Jinni is the only discovery engine that is based on semantics [...] So when you ask Jinni for a recommendation it answers like a best friend, who also happens to be a movie expert, and therefore knows exactly what you’ll enjoy watching.”

Video discovery is a hot topic in the new recently, thanks to Apple’s acquisition of Matcha.tv. TechCrunch previously reported that this acquisition was the result of Matcha’s success in providing accurate and useful recommendations to viewers in terms of the types of content they’d be likely to enjoy. Jinni likewise claims a unique “understanding of user tastes” thanks to its proprietary tech.

It’s highly likely that we’ll see Jinni’s tech power content recommendations in the upcoming Xbox One, but Glick is staying mum on that subject for now, saying only that his company “cannot comment on Xbox One at this time.” A multi-year agreement with Xbox likely means the next-gen console, which makes its official consumer debut November 22, is surely in the cards for Jinni, however.