Want a quiet night out? Microsoft Research may have the answer with Bing Now for Windows Phone.

Microsoft Research is both an amazing establishment and frustrating one. It’s amazing because of the work they do - the future of technology being built today! It’s frustrating though because it can take years before we see the effects of such projects in commercial applications. With that understanding, it’s curious to see what Bing Now brings to the table.

Bing Now is a demonstration app by Microsoft Research that utilizes your phone’s microphones to gauge how crowded a particular restaurant or bar is at the moment. The idea behind it is that a user will check-in via Foursquare and during that process, a 6-10 seconds audio clip is recorded and analyzed for information. With 80% accuracy, the Bing Now app was able to predictably estimate the amount of people at the establishment and more. Users can also listen to the sample on their phones to hear it themselves.

The reason for such a project should be obvious: should you wish to head out to a bar or for some food, depending on you are feeling you many want “loud and lively” or “quiet and subdued”.  With Bing Now, you can filter results of restaurants or pubs based on your criteria, which include occupancy, chat, noise and music levels.

It is certainly an enticing idea, though being an MSR project we wouldn’t expect this to land in our mobiles for another year or two. It will also require the user to consent to having their phone used as a sampling device, which could impact privacy, data and battery life.

Still, if we had to guess where social check-in apps and services were heading, Bing Now seems to be on the right track.Make sure you watch the embedded video to see how it all works.

Source: Microsoft, MIT Technology Review; Thanks, anon, for the tip!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.