Microsoft’s newest addition to the Office family is Sway, which is a web based presentation tool centered on fast and easy content creation. Sway has been released in a beta form via invites and has been adding features as it goes. Currently Sway is very stripped down, and has a limited amount of ways users can customize and design their Sways. Another way Sway is unique in the way it can collect content from a variety of sources, the newest of which is Bing image search.
This isn’t your traditional insert web image however, but a new way Microsoft is trying to make the next generation of creation tools. When users select add media a pane from the left slides out with a number of different words in boxes. These words are suggested image search topics based on what content has been added to the Sway. Users can still get to all content sources by selecting the down arrow next to the word suggested.
Image search can be tricky because even if a good image is found, it may not be the right size, and the copyright may prevent it from being used. Bing image search in Sway shows the pixel dimensions of each image in its bottom left corner, and by default Bing only shows images which are under the Creative Commons licenses. This means every result which is returned can be used without fear that copyright infringement is occurring. Users can choose to ‘Show all results’ and view all images in a normal Bing search.
The words which are generated at the top of the media pane are meant to help get a relevant image search going quickly. The words can be picked from the text in the Sway but they can also be generated via machine learning. Microsoft has developed a system which will attempt to understand the relationship between the different keywords in the Sway and generate words which may not be in the Sway but are still applicable.
Sway is still in an invite only viewing method but invites are fairly common. To get an invite, enter your email at Sway.com; commonly the Sway team will give invites via Twitter as well. If you already have an invite, try out this new image search function and let us know what you think. The feature is already rolled out and working.