Microsoft is giving third-party app developers a way to directly access its vast amount of data and information it has collected for its Bing search engine. This comes in the form of a new Bing knowledge and action graph API that will allow those developers to make apps allow users to access Bing's information from inside those apps.

Microsoft said:

"Today, Bing has over a billion entities (people, places, and things) and the number is growing every day. For those entities, we have over 21 billion associated facts, 18 billion links to key actions and over 5 billion relationships between entities. Millions of Bing users around the globe use this rich information every day, in, Cortana, Xbox, Office and more. Imagine what your application can do with this powerful technology."

"Developers can innovate using this enormous asset to fulfil their users' information needs and help users perform searches in context, instead of forcing users to leave their apps to perform searches. For instance, a messaging app could add a Bing snapshot with actionable info on a restaurant, making it easier for a group to plan an evening. A social media app could augment users' photos with information about the locations of each photo. A news app could show definitions and descriptions of terms that users want to drill into. A music app could augment content with snapshots of artists and songs. Where Bing has rights to share the data, we want to empower the developer community to create rich, innovative experiences that delight."

As an example of how this new API can be used inside apps, Microsoft has updated its own Bing Android app so that its users can access snapshot information from inside other apps.

"Say you're in your favorite social media app and you see your friend's posting about a recent trip. Just long-press the home button and Bing will read the contents of your screen, identify the destination your friend posted about, and present you with information that you can find on the web to learn more, and a snapshot showing key facts about that destination, along with connections into relevant apps and services, like Lonely Planet. You get all this information without ever having to leave the app."

Developers who are interested in using the Bing knowledge and action graph API can email Microsoft at to request access. Microsoft plans to offer the API to the first set of developers sometime this fall.

Source: Microsoft