Now this is something my students will want! Hopefully this new research and writing app from Instafact will be available soon.
"Let’s say you’re writing a report on Washington state that includes historical dates and a spreadsheet of cities and population. To do that now you need to search for the info online and then copy and paste, which is tedious and slow, as you toggle between web, report and data columns.
But someday, you might be able to use InstaFact, a new solution built by a team of Microsoft employees to help writers, researchers and pretty much anyone who needs facts quickly. The Office plug-in infers the facts you want, mines a massive information repository to get them, auto-completes your facts in Word and auto-fills your data cells in Excel — all with a few simple clicks.
InstaFact’s proof of concept integrates Microsoft’s Bing knowledge graph into Word and Excel to help people save time, work more easily and be more productive. Called Satori, the knowledge graph is an enormous repository of data gathered daily from the web, with more than two billion entities (people, places and things) and tens of billions of associated facts and relationships between those entities.
The tool has to correctly infer what a user wants, search terabytes of data, retrieve accurate facts, auto-complete documents and do it all very quickly.
Everyone on the team works in Microsoft’s Bing Satori group, but none of them had worked together before the Hackathon. None had experience with a //oneweek Hackathon. But during the frenzied, three-day event, the team spent long days and nights in a conference room to create a tool that was just a kernel of an idea just six weeks earlier.
The team now envisions InstaFact empowering many people and organizations, from students to journalists to businesses that need accurate statistics and research. The technology would get smarter over time as more people use it. And it could include an update button that auto-refreshes data on subjects like stock prices and population figures. The team hopes to ship the technology in the near future.
‘InstaFact ‘automagically’ brings the power of Bing’s knowledge graph into Microsoft productivity applications like Word and Excel, saving the user precious time and cognitive load, since they don’t have to app-switch to get the answer or information they need.’ "