After Germany’s World Cup victory on Sunday, we reported how Microsoft’s Cortana, the company’s artificially intelligent personal assistant, was used to predicted the winner of nearly every game after the group stages.

In conjunction with this, it was announced yesterday at the 15th annual Microsoft Research Faculty Summit that Cortana would be branching out further and into the field of academia.

As VentureBeat explain, Microsoft is “mashing its Academic Search tool into a new service that will allow researchers to determine what exactly ends up getting through to Bing and Cortana.”

Instead of treating scholarly information as a separate search engine, Microsoft said that this academic information will become a “first-class citizen” in Bing search results. The addition of academic data to Bing is aimed at making Cortana “the best personal assistant for researchers.

In a blog post from Microsoft, the company said:

“The existing Microsoft academic search and browsing experience will be transitioned gradually to a community portal in which researchers can control how much information about themselves can be discovered by others through Bing and Cortana.”

“Additional application-programming interfaces will be added to enable universities and research institutions to contribute data searchable from either Bing or Cortana.”

With Apple and Google investing heavily in their related products, Siri and Google Now, Microsoft’s move towards academia is certainly an interesting one.

Commenting on the news yesterday, Kuansan Wang, Director of Internet Services Research Center, spoke of the company’s vision for Cortana.

“By growing Microsoft Academic Search from a research effort to production,” Wang says, “our goal is to make Bing-powered Cortana the best personal research assistant for our users while augmenting the previous site as Microsoft Research’s social and outreach portal for the research community.”

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(Image Credit: Bhupinder Nayyar)

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