Microsoft Xbox Adding 'Mood-Based' Video Search

Licenses Jinni system to provide content discovery and recommendations based on topics and themes

Adding another plank in its bid to make Xbox a be-all entertainment platform, Microsoft will embed a feature into the console that lets users find titles with topic- and theme-based searches such as “nudity violence thriller” and “antihero based on novel.”

The new content-discovery feature is based on technology licensed from Israeli startup Jinni. Microsoft in 2011 inked a licensing deal with the Jinni for an initial pilot phase, and the new deal covers an extended multiyear contract.

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The Jinni Entertainment Genome system uses thousands of attributes gathered from TV shows and movies, matched up with titles in the Xbox Video catalog, to provide recommendations beyond standard genres.

“Creating the most amazing entertainment experience means always putting the customer experience first,” Xbox GM Dave Alles said in a statement. “Our goal is to make it effortless to get you to entertainment you’ll truly love. Pairing Jinni’s Entertainment Genome with other key advances such as Conversational Understanding makes finding something to watch on Xbox as fun as watching it.”

Other customers of Tel Aviv, Israel-based Jinni include Comcast and Walmart’s Vudu video service.

Jinni’s system indexes titles automatically via analysis of user reviews and synopses, using a proprietary natural-language processing technique. The database incorporates “experience” attributes with the mood and tone of the content and “story” information including plot elements (“one-man army,” “battle of the sexes”), structures (“nonlinear,” “story-within-a-story”) and flags (“violence,” “nudity”). It also includes other attributes like awards.

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