Microsoft has unveiled the first public look at Bing Distill, a service for answering user questions. The technology also ties in with Microsoft’s ongoing work in machine learning, paralleling IBM’s use of real-world data to enrich its galaxy of Watson-powered services.At first glance, Bing Distill looks and sounds like Quora or Yahoo Answers — the proposed mechanisms for the service is about the same.

Users can volunteer answers for plain-language questions posed on Bing, which are then subjected to community review, feedback, and refinement. It’s not yet clear what incentives Microsoft will offer to participators; one theory is that Microsoft could use the Bing Rewards program to do this.

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