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 (opens in new tab), MIT Technology Review; Thanks, anon, for the tip!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, 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 for some reason, watches. 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.

  • Sounds great. Choose an original name though.
  • Lol Bing Noise.
  • Not sure if you were kidding but that's a brilliant name because you are Binging the noise. ;)
  • +1 just great.
  • Am I the only one that got excited thinking it was a Google Now competitor lol??
  • Nope
  • Amazing concept! This is why I love Microsoft Research. I just wish people could see the amount of work they put in behind the scenes and not just the products they've released.
  • It DOES take years before we see the effect of any project from Microsoft, research or otherwise. That is what's frustrating. It takes them forever to do anything, even to bring the simplest of missing features to Windows Phone or to fix a problem as large as the desktop synch app for Windows Phone 8. Their project management as far as timeframes are concerned simply sucks.
  • zzzZZ. Boring. Let me know when I can have custom SMS or Email tone. Or week view in Calendar. Or profiles. Or a notification centre.
    Keep your blue sky thinking until you can have parity with what is available on other smartphones. Wise up Microsoft.
  • All these little issues you complain about are surely currently on the roadmap. The Bing Now stuff is further down the road. If they canceled all MS Research it wouldn't bring your precious custom ring tones any faster.
  • Even though the idea is very cool, it does introduce a lot of problems such as the ones mentioned in the article. Only for the obsessive socialites really who don't mind sharing everything with the world.
  • ..
  • Giggity.
  • I'm not sure, but that phone kinda looks a little different from Lumia 920..
    I mean no curved back, and the lower bezel is small and even the glimse of back made me think so...
    something different.. isn't it?
  • Guys its obviously the Lumia 900. ✌
  • Even the headphone jack is not in the center... its something else, not 920!
  • The Lumia 900...
  • If you keep on reminding people that this is the 900 then i can only conclude that the 920 has done its intended job: to make people forget that the 900 even existed 
  • It's interesting, but until the data costs for this kind of thing are picked up by the Carriers I dint see paying to let other people find a nice night out.
  • What would be more helpful would be for Windows Phone 8 to be able to use the Outlook Calendar, so you can search and find appointments, ON the Windows Phone 8, instead of having to find them, on the computer. The Calendar is pretty useless, if you have to go to your computer, to find an appointment.
  • Now you are spamming, someone answered your question on another thread.
  • My Samsung Blackjack with Windows Mobile had much better Calendar integration than Windows Phone 7 and 8 does. My Blackjack could be set to automatically go silent or vibrate during appointments/meetings on my calendar, and I could even configure sound profiles, as a student, to vibrate between 8 and 1 o'clock Monday to Friday weekly during class time. All this was automatic when set. Thanks to the Geniuses at Microsoft, we no longer have to put up with such inconvenient and trivial features in their new and more advanced mobile OS /s.
  • Unfortunately the entity that should not just reply but addressing these very compelling issues is MS and,its silence is very troublesome.
  • I sure wish Microsoft would shock us and show him that "other thing coming" that you mentioned... but now, instead of at some point late in the 21st century.
    p.s. I sincerely apologize to you if my comments in any way slights Holy Microsoft or injure your personal esteem in any way.
  • With all of the data plan caps (which we should be demanding dropped or majorly increased BTW) in place, who's going to voluntary send this info?
  • Imagine if you are new into town and want to find the hot local spots. boom, bing now will tell you where the locals are. 10 years from now, imagine integrated with user reviews / instant video / pictures of the venue in question.
    Lazy 20 year old: Where are the hot chics? Oh its a sausage fest at corner bar #1.
  • MSR is just copying what the government has already been doing with all smartphones for years.  Watch as this project quietly disappears in the near future.  Hahaha!