As the 2014 NFL season kicks off, Bing is making predictions, which it has also enabled in Cortana, and Google is launching a football-themed GIF generator to capitalize upon increased search interest.
The Seattle Seahawks have a 74.2 percent chance of beating the Green Bay Packers in the opening game of the 2014 NFL season, according to Bing Predicts, a service that uses search, social, and other data to forecast the outcomes of upcoming events, like sports, reality shows, and elections.
Per Bing data, it should also be a good week for the Falcons, Rams, Steelers, Eagles, and Jets.
And, as it did for the 2014 World Cup, Bing is enabling this predictive behavior in Cortana, the intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator for Windows Phone 8.1.
According to a Bing blog post, users can simply ask Cortana, "Who will win: Team A or Team B?" and she will provide an answer.
Bing says it was 100 percent accurate in the final elimination rounds of the World Cup, picking the winners in 15 matches. Although, Bing confesses, it inaccurately predicted Brazil would beat the Netherlands.
This has led Walter Sun of the Bing Predicts team to be quite optimistic about Cortana's odds with its NFL predictions. In fact, in a blog post, Sun says he expects to get a majority correct.
"For pro football, we model the respective strengths of the teams by examining outcomes from previous seasons including wins, losses, and the very rare tie outcome (two games since 2009), factoring in margin of victories, location of contest, playing surface and roof cover (or lack thereof), weather and temperature conditions, scoring by quarters, and multiple offensive and defensive statistics," Sun writes.
"In addition to this prior model, we identify fans on Web and social sites and track their sentiment to understand the aggregate wisdom of this expressive crowd. This introduces data which statistics alone cannot capture, providing real-time adjustments which surprisingly can capture injury news and other substantive factors in win probabilities."
Consumers who don't have Windows phones can still use Bing to find predictions, simply by searching for "NFL predictions."
And while searching "NFL predictions" in Google does not yield comparable forecasts from the world's biggest search engine, a recent Google blog post cites a resurgence of search interest for GIFs on Google Trends and says its Art, Copy & Code team is launching the Madden Giferator to help launch EA Sports' football game Madden NFL 15.
According to Google, in every NFL game, the Madden Giferator will create a live stream of memes using Madden NFL 15 video game footage as GIFs, which will be triggered by the action on the field. The GIFs will appear in real time on the Madden Giferator website, as well as on social media and in ads on sports and gaming apps and sites across the Google Display Network.
Google says users can also design their own GIFs, choosing the team, player, background, and headline.
"We wanted to tap into the growing trend for fans to comment on and interact with games from their phones - plus, we have a weakness for GIFs," writes Mike Glaser, marketing manager of creative partnerships. "The Giferator fuses live NFL game data with a database of Madden images, players, backgrounds, and headlines to create relevant memes on the fly."
The Madden Giferator is in partnership with EA Sports and the agencies Heat and Grow and is the latest in Google's Art, Copy & Code series, in which it says it partners with brands and agencies to create "useful and fun experiences, powered by Google technology."
This article was originally published on Search Engine Watch.
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In addition to ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, Lisa's work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
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