Bing Mobile App Uses Phone's Camera To Calculate Math Problems

Bing released an update to its iOS search app  earlier this week that includes a “Math” mode, a feature made available through Microsoft's Camera Intelligent search. 

The Math mode allows users to solve complex math problems by taking a photo of the numbers and symbols in the problem. Microsoft uses artificial intelligence to search for information about what it sees in the image of the picture. It can identify a landmark or tree, for example, or it can find the price and details for the dresser or chair in the image.

Microsoft announced in June 2018 the launch of an updated intelligent Visual Search feature for Bing. The technology allows users to search for information using images captured by a smartphone's camera.

The user also can upload a picture from the existing camera roll. Bing then identifies the object and provides more information and additional links for the user to explore.



The latest update -- Math mode -- integrates calculations, so when someone takes a picture of a complex math problem, the technology recognizes the numbers and symbols to solve the equation. It’s not clear if the technology can, yet, identify word problems.

With this update for Bing search, users also can find specific words or phrases on a web page faster using the “Find in Page” button. Of course, the update also includes minor bug fixes and performance improvements.

So what does this mean? Here is an interesting video that surfaced in May 2018 that provides the history of Bing. Skip to the 2:18 apple minute mark in the video where the narrator talks about the power of default apps and the majority share Windows has on PCs -- but not mobile, which is the problem. Many of Google’s revenue comes from mobile search ads, rather than desktop. Microsoft’s search ad revenue comes mostly from desktop.

The ability of Microsoft to capture more mobile market share through features like Math mode would possibly allow Bing to succeed, math mode and all. The more mobile and desktop market share, the more data to make calculations and serve targeted ads.

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