State of the Union: Bing, Fox News team up to measure real-time reaction from viewers


A Microsoft employee walks past a sign for Bing, the company's recently upgraded search engine, at Microsoft in Redmond, Wash., Wednesday, July 29, 2009. The extended reach Microsoft Corp. is gaining with its new partnership with Yahoo Inc. will let it introduce Bing to more people. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) (Elaine Thompson/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

If you want some instant State of the Union reaction that’s a little more sophisticated than just a tally of the sitting and standing in the House chamber, then consider heading over to Bing on Tuesday night.

Microsoft’s search engine is pulling out its Bing Pulse tool for the second year to record real-time audience sentiment during President Obama’s big speech. The online voting tool allows viewers to express their opinions about the speech using a smartphone, PC or tablet. Those watching the graphs generated by Bing Pulse will be able to see how viewers feel about the speech and which moments of the address generated the most votes — what Bing calls an “intensity score.” Real-time reactions from the polls will be displayed on the FOX News Channel.

This year, Microsoft is adding some new functions to the tool, including an annotated graph feature that will allow viewers to click on spikes or dips in the real-time graphs to see the issues being addressed during the speech that have prompted major reactions.

Bing will also be keeping the tool open for votes during the Republican response to the speech afterward.

It may seem like the kind of tool that only Washingtonians and other hard-core politics junkies would love, but Bing Pulse got a fairly good turnout in its debut last year, registering 12.9 million votes, according to Microsoft.

The "designated survivor" is a Cabinet member specifically kept away from the president's State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol. We spoke to four past "survivors." (Jeff Simon/The Washington Post)

To participate, viewers can go to bing.com/politics from their computer, tablet or mobile device to connect with the poll and watch live feed of both speeches. Users can self-identify by gender or political party before voting to provide additional context for the pollsters.

Throughout the speech, viewers will be able to choose among five options to characterize their reactions to what’s being said on screen, in the manner of the traditional dial test: strongly agree, somewhat agree, neutral, somewhat disagree and strongly disagree. Results will be updated every few seconds.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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