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Posted by Hussein Salama, director of Advanced Technology Labs Cairo
In 2012, we reaped the fruits of our long-term investments and bets that we made close to four years ago. In the midst of the Egyptian-revolution aftershocks, our lab managed to keep its focus and to end the year with many wonderful achievements.Our information-retrieval team continued its multiyear effort to drive up the relevance of Bing search for the Arab countries. In recognition of that team’s accomplishments and the skills the team members demonstrated, the Bing product group decided in March to start a Bing team in Cairo. The Bing Cairo team is collocated with Advanced Technology Labs Cairo and focuses on Bing search for the Arab countries and Turkey. I am delighted to have a research team and a development team at the same location, as this simplifies the collaboration and speeds the transfer of technologies from research to product.Another multiyear investment of ours in 2012, building a comprehensive, state-of-the-art Arabic natural language processing stack, has yielded significant successes, especially with Office. Office 2013 will ship with technologies from our lab that significantly improve the Arabic proofing tools and the accuracy of Arabic search in Exchange and SharePoint. This fulfils a top objective in our charter, namely to improve the experience of Arab users with Microsoft products. Additionally, this collaboration creates opportunities for us to make further contributions to Arabic and other languages in future releases of Office.In 2013, our lab will zoom in on strategic scenarios to motivate and drive our applied research teams. As always, we will continue to be driven by our passion to leverage our core expertise in natural languages, information retrieval, and machine learning to help Microsoft improve the lives of the next 1 billion users in the Arab region and other emerging markets.