Google’s attempts to model flu trends based on people’s search behavior has come under fire lately, but our search behavior can undoubtedly be used to predict lots of other things. Starting today, Bing will use its search data to add predictions about who will win shows like The Voice, American Idol (that’s still on?) and D-list dance show Dancing With The Stars.
There’s a good chance none of these programs are really of interest to you (and I have no idea who any of these people are that Bing predicts will win them), but Microsoft says it will use these same algorithms for other events and to estimate popularity trends and the outcomes of future events going forward, too. These could include elections (something Google does, too), sporting events and other pop culture award shows.
“The central idea behind the direct approach is that winners and losers correspond to popularity,” the Bing team writes. Bing performs sentiment analysis on the search queries related to an event and then runs this data through its prediction models. While the Bing team isn’t disclosing much about the model itself, Microsoft says the model accounts for biases like regional preferences “and other measurable and observable trends.”