Another rare, top-down command might shape the next iteration of Windows, which is likely to be called Windows 9 – although Lee declined to even confirm the existence of an update to the OS. New CEO Satya Nadella has made clear his vision of a cloud-enabled Windows. He even stressed it in his first letter to the to the company.
Yet Windows at present doesn’t rely on the cloud for computing power. Sure, there’s OneDrive, a great place to store stuff, and the Office family of apps can be run from the cloud. But unlike other Microsoft products, that’s where the integration ends.
Bing, by contrast, lives and breathes because of the hidden, back-end power of the cloud, as does Siri – and by extension, some of the neatest features of the Windows Phone platform (Android too, of course). But the desktop? Not so much.
That’ll change in Windows 9, if Microsoft Research has anything to say about it.
“One of the mission-focused activities [those dictated by other divisions within the company] is centered around something called the Enterprise Graph. It sounds really boring but for us it’s really interesting,” he said.
Presently, Windows doesn’t rely on the cloud for computing power … That’ll change in Windows 9.
Microsoft has a lot of customers that are big companies with hundreds of thousands of employees. Your smartphone may realize you take the same route to work everyday, thanks to data stored and analyzed in the loud, but Windows apps and the OS itself just don’t get it.
“Using machine learning to extract relationships, entities, key ideas being worked on and bring those to the surface in tools. Maybe even digital-assistant tools to make companies more productive and smarter. That’s one area we’re going at” for Windows 9, Lee said.
If that sounds familiar, it should: It’s how Bing processes and parses pieces of information to understand that your search for “Adam Levine news” is really for gossip about the Maroon 5 guy – and surfaces news that lets you tell your friends “dude, did you hear, he just dyed his hair!” Doing it for computers is different than doing it for the world wide web, Lee said.
“Bing tries to understand entities. When someone does a Bing search for ‘Canon 4D’ and they click the Canon Rebel link, we learn about those relationships. With enterprise there’s similar issues but with much less data. The computer science ends up being different.”
“If I write a document and I want to say, share this with the appropriate people that work with Vikram from the meeting, or say, ‘what’s trending around me at work,’ not in my personal space but at work … answering questions like that requires a very different kind of machine learning,” he said.