Bing announces interactive State of the Union site, Bing Pulse


Bing will collect real-time data from viewers watching next week’s State of the Union address. Above, President Barack Obama is applauded as he delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. (Joshua Roberts/BLOOMBERG)
February 8, 2013

Bing will be applying its technology to get a read on what regular people are saying about President Obama’s State of the Union speech next Tuesday.

In a Friday announcement, the Microsoft search engine said that it will host a site on the day of the speech that will act as a huge dial-test for the annual address to the nation.

The site will be accessible at noon on Saturday. The interactive portion of the site will go live a few hours before the president gives his address, and the site will partner with the Fox News channel on coverage.

Viewers will be able register their reactions to what Obama is saying in real time in five-second intervals. Data displayed on the site will be split by gender and political affiliation, said Microsoft corporate vice president, Mark Penn, a former political strategist and pollster who joined the company t last summer.

Participants will also be able to use the Bing News Slider, which filters coverage by affiliation and has a social integration that allows users to see what Fox pundits and others are saying about the speech.

Penn stressed that the initiative is “a fully nonpartisan effort,” highlighting the fact that both both President Jimmy Carter and former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich have starred in promotional videos for the site.

“We hope that this will become a tradition,” Penn said.

Microsoft first tried out this kind of technology during the 2012 election, both on Bing’s politics vertical and on the company’s Xbox Live network. During debates, Xbox users were able to answer questions about the events and the issues in real time, providing an instant snapshot of how responders viewed the candidates performance.

In a conference call Friday, Penn indicated that Microsoft would continue to expand on its efforts to integrate real-time interaction with live events.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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